Yes, the magic of Hogwarts has extended beyond the pages of J.K. Rowling’s novels and onto the top of sales charts. According to a recent report by industry tracker Circana, Hogwarts Legacy has become the undisputed champion of 2023, dethroning the longstanding king of the hill, Call of Duty.
For years, the video game industry has been dominated by two seemingly unstoppable forces: Call of Duty with its relentless annual iterations and Rockstar Games with its meticulously crafted open-world masterpieces. These titans have consistently topped sales charts, leaving little room for challengers. However, the arrival of Hogwarts Legacy has rewritten the script.
Upon its release, Hogwarts Legacy cast a spell on gamers, enchanting them with its immersive open world, captivating story, and the fulfilling fantasy of attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This magic translated into tangible success, as the game quickly claimed the top spot in the US sales charts, outselling Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
The Current State of Video Game Sales
According to Circana (formerly known as NPD Group and IRI), a leading provider of market research and analysis for the video game industry, video game sales in the US reached $4.6 billion in February 2023, an increase of 6% from February 2022. This was driven by strong demand for new releases across various genres and platforms, as well as increased spending on hardware and accessories.
Among the top-selling games in February 2023 were:
This is a role-playing game made by Avalanche Software and released by Warner Bros. Games under the Portkey Games name. The game is part of the Wizarding World series, and it takes place a hundred years before the Harry Potter books. The player takes control of a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who learns how to use a variety of magical items and skills. With the help of other students and teachers, the main character sets out on a journey to find an old secret that has been hidden in the wizarding world.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
A first-person shooter game developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision Blizzard (Corp). The game is a sequel to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), which was rebooted with a new story set during World War II. The player controls various characters involved in covert operations against various terrorist groups around the world.
A survival horror game developed by EA Motive and published by Electronic Arts (Corp). The game is based on Dead Space (2008), which was inspired by Alien (1979). The player controls Isaac Clarke, an engineer who wakes up on a spaceship infested with horrific creatures called Necromorphs.
Madden NFL 23
A sports simulation game developed by EA Canada and published by Electronic Arts (Corp). The game is based on Madden NFL (1988), which is one of the most popular football video games in history. The player can choose from various teams, players, modes, and settings to create their own custom experience.
A sports simulation game developed by EA Canada and published by Electronic Arts (Corp). The game is based on FIFA (1993), which is one of the most popular soccer video games in history. The player can choose from various teams, players, modes, and settings to create their own custom experience.
These five games accounted for more than half of all video game sales in February 2023, indicating that gamers are hungry for new games to play amidst old favorites.
The Rise of Hogwarts Legacy
One notable exception among these top-selling games was Hogwarts Legacy, which became not only the best-selling US game for February but also topped the Steam, PlayStation, and Xbox leaderboards. This pushed the long-awaited Dead Space Remake into third place, and CoD sat second.
Hogwarts Legacy was not only the best-selling US game for the entirety of 2023 so far but also topped the Steam, PlayStation, and Xbox leaderboards. This pushes the long-awaited Dead Space Remake into third place, and CoD sat second.
Hogwarts Legacy was also the first new release from Avalanche Software since they left Disney Interactive Studios after their acquisition by Warner Bros. Games in 2017. Before its release, it attracted controversy due to Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s views on transgender people and accusations of including antisemitic tropes, leading to calls for a boycott.
However, these issues did not deter fans from pre-ordering or playing Hogwarts Legacy, which received generally favorable reviews from critics, who praised its immersive world, rich lore, diverse characters, and engaging gameplay. The game also appealed to a large fan base of Harry Potter enthusiasts, who were eager to explore the wizarding world in a new and interactive way. According to Circana, Hogwarts Legacy sold more than 8.3 million units in the US in February 2023, surpassing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which sold 7.9 million units. This made Hogwarts Legacy the best-selling game in the US for that month and for the entire year so far.