Hogwarts Legacy launched on February 10 of this year and was an instant sales hit—so much so that it’s still the highest-selling game of 2023, even with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in the mix. Though Switch exclusivity is likely part of the reason why Zelda can’t catch up to the controversial Hogwarts Legacy, it’s undeniable that Warner Bros. Games’ wizarding RPG was a financial success. But is anyone still playing it??
Hogwarts Legacy initially launched for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, then in May for PS4 and Xbox One (a Nintendo Switch version is due out in November). The game was embroiled in conflict before even hitting storefronts thanks to its ties to J.K. Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter book series (and owns its IP) and who has been using her immense platform to spread anti-trans rhetoric for years.
Many websites refused to cover the game, some tried to cover the basics, others went all-in. While there’s no denying its initial success (it was incredibly popular on Twitch, swiftly hit impressive sales milestones, and at the time of writing, is still the most-sold game of 2023), it seems like the once-fervent interest in the wizarding world RPG has Disapparated.
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According to SteamDB, which tracks Steam player counts and Twitch viewers, Hogwarts Legacy hit its all-time concurrent player peak (879,308) just two days after it launched. By the beginning of March, it was down to an average of 110,155 players. By April, it was less than half of that, with peak player count at 53,519 and average players sitting at around 38,000. As of August 10, the average player count is around 6,800.
Though there’s still a fairly active Hogwarts Legacy subreddit, it seems mostly dedicated to getting help with bugs and wondering about potential DLC (which, I’ll note, the developer has said there are no plans for). There are the occasional pretty screenshot and nods to what may be Easter eggs, but the top posts sit at several hundred upvotes, rather than the nearly 10,000 upvotes given to ones shared shortly after the game’s launch.
Tons of games see a drop in player count a few weeks or months after it debuts—in an industry where multiple big releases can take place within a month (October 2023 really wants you to say goodbye to your social life), there’s a natural ebb and flow to interest. That’s especially true for story-based campaign games rather than live service games that can live on indefinitely. But the drastic drop-off of Hogwarts Legacy’s popularity (which people were pointing out way back in March) is more likely due to the game’s redundant RPG systems and monotonous combat—and that once players got over the allure of “you can finally be a student at Hogwarts,” they realized that this game is as paper-thin as Nearly Headless Nick.
There really isn’t all that much to do in Hogwarts Legacy past a certain point. Traveling through the Scottish highlands means engaging in the same three enemy type encounters, participating in one of nearly 100 ludicrously redundant Merlin trials, and unlocking chests that feature the same, ugly garments you’ve been rocking since the start. Wandering through Hogwarts means spamming Revelio in search of a piece of parchment or winged key fluttering above your head or some other abundant collectible that you’ll amass for an underwhelming reward. I’ll admit that I got sucked into a semi-satisfying gameplay loop for maybe a dozen hours before I plateaued and bounced off the game with so much force you’d think I got hit with a Knockback jinx.
At a certain point, I grew weary of schlepping through similar enemies in search of a glistening chest just to get the same, middling cosmetic I was already wearing. I disconnected from the story, which felt at-odds with Hogwarts Legacy’s RPG elements, and became increasingly more uncomfortable with its bizarre stance on animal rescue. I stopped playing it a few weeks after launch and haven’t touched it since.
Perhaps Hogwarts Legacy’s upcoming Switch launch or potential DLC could renew interest in the game, but I think that even new players will quickly find its all filler, no killer.