Nearly 500,000 people are playing Hogwarts Legacy on Steam before it's truly out

Hogwarts Legacy screenshot
(Image credit: Avalanche Software)

The years of transphobic comments made by Harry Potter creator JK Rowling have made Hogwarts Legacy one of the most controversial videogames of all time. But that hasn't stopped it from being an immediate, major hit on Steam and Twitch, where it's being played and viewed by hundreds of thousands of gamers before it's even officially launched.

Hogwarts Legacy won't officially launch until February 10, but players who pay extra for the deluxe edition were able to get started up to 72 hours early, on February 7. And they are, in serious numbers: SteamDB (via the Steam API) indicates that more than 488,000 people are currently playing the game. It doesn't appear on the Steam top 100 because it's not officially released yet, but if it did it would hold the number three spot right now, ahead of PUBG and just behind Dota 2.

(Image credit: SteamDB)

(Apparently SteamDB is able to track concurrent user numbers for the early access release because a member of the community gifted a copy of the game to its bot.)

Similar numbers can be seen on Twitch: According to analyst platform Gamesight, Hogwarts Legacy is the biggest singleplayer game launch in Twitch history based on concurrent viewers, easily surpassing Elden Ring, and trailing only Valorant and Lost Ark for the overall top spot. 

(Image credit: Gamesight)

That would seem to fly in the face of sensational reports that streamers "may lose their jobs" if they play Hogwarts Legacy on their channels—a nonsensical and easily disprovable claim that was nonetheless amplified on social media.

There was never any question that Hogwarts Legacy was going to be a hit, despite the backlash against it. Pre-purchases alone made it one of the best-selling games on Steam, and it currently holds the top spot on the list

But the scale of the success, I think, is genuinely surprising. Remember, this player count only includes people who purchased the $70/£60 deluxe edition and then took advantage of the early access period on Steam: That excludes all standard edition sales and deluxe owners who either didn't care or forgot about the early access period, not to mention the Epic Games Store release and the console versions, which I have no doubt will draw even bigger audiences.

Hogwarts Legacy will fully unlock on PC at 10 am PT/1 pm ET/6 pm GMT on February 10. The PlayStation 5 version will go live at midnight in your local time zone (except for the Pacific time zone in North America, which for some reason will go live at 9 pm). The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions will launch on April 4, and the Nintendo Switch version will follow on July 25.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.