Hogwarts Legacy is officially out on Friday for current-gen consoles and later this year for last-gen consoles and the Nintendo Switch, but those who splurged on the Deluxe Edition got early access starting on February 7. And the game is already garnering a massive audience on Twitch. In fact, the open-world Harry Potter RPG is Twitch’s most popular game at the moment.
Hogwarts Legacy Launches With Millions Of Viewers Watching
Developed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment subsidiary Avalanche Software, Hogwarts Legacy is set in the wizarding world of Harry Potter during the 1800s. You play as a fifth-year transfer student who has an affinity for ancient magic and must use this skill set to prevent a rising goblin rebellion. Considering the period, you won’t kick it with Harry Potter and friends. Instead, you’ll create your own witch or wizard and embark on various open-world activities, including brewing potions and harvesting plants. You can also learn unforgivable curses if you really want to be a bad magic user, though the game won’t judge you for using them. At any rate, this is an open-world Harry Potter RPG, so no matter the judgement, whether that’s from the game or the community, it was bound to be popular.
And it absolutely is. According to the data analytics site TwitchTracker, Hogwarts Legacy had a peak concurrent viewership of over 1.2 million between February 6 and 7. The game’s ranked sixth overall on the site, with more than 16 million hours watched in the last few days. Looking at Twitch right now, Hogwarts Legacy is the most popular game in the livestreaming platform’s Browse section, beating out the Just Chatting category with 636,000 viewers and counting. At one point this week, Félix “xQc” Lengyel, one of Twitch’s most well-known broadcasters, streamed it to over 100,000 live viewers. xQc’s video-on-demand (VOD), an archived recording of a past livestream, also garnered 5.7 million total views. In short, Hogwarts Legacy is now more popular than Cyberpunk 2077 and Elden Ring at the peak of their launches. The numbers here are wild.
Streamers Grapple With Covering Hogwarts Legacy
Just as Hogwarts Legacy is gaining traction online, so too is the heated discourse around financially supporting Harry Potter author and blatant transphobe J.K. Rowling. Twitch streamers, in particular, seem to be having a hard time covering it, with some opting to boycott the game entirely while others, including xQc, defend folks who choose to stream the game. People, such as gaming couple Girlfriend Reviews, have reportedly been harassed and questioned over their choice to stream the game. Then you have a few folks, like socialist political commentator Hasan “Hasanabi” Piker, staying away from the game because it’s “not worth” getting bullied over. And one Twitter user created a watchdog website that apparently puts whichever streamer currently playing the game on blast, though when Kotaku tried viewing the site, we were met with a brief message saying the service has been “suspended.”
This is the shape much of the online discourse around Hogwarts Legacy has taken: bullying folks for either ducking or playing the game. For the most terminally online, it seems that no matter your position here, you’re transphobic regardless — even if you don’t play the game because queer and trans people worked on the game, and not playing or buying the game means not supporting that community. And that’s just the wrong take. There’s nothing wrong with having an interest in a franchise that shaped your formative years or whatever. Sure, you could make the connection that buying the Harry Potter game directly lines She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s pockets, but as we know, there is no ethical consumption under capitalism. Still, demeaning someone who’s excited about Hogwarts Legacy simply because it doesn’t align with your personal politics doesn’t aid in the trans fight. You know what does? Lobbying for pro-trans issues at the ballot box, most especially when bad political actors attempt to condemn and erase the community. This is the real conversation we need to have.
Hogwarts Legacy was bound to be popular no matter how the discourse shook out. I mean, it was one of the most pre-ordered Steam games according to the software and hardware sales tracker VGChartz. And with solid scores across review aggregators Metacritic and Open Critic, it appears Hogwarts Legacy may be the biggest release of 2023 so far. That’s fine. It’s also fine if you don’t want to play it for any reason. Let’s just remember that people are people and demonizing them for their consumption habits ain’t it. Direct that anger at lawmakers instead.
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