The years of transphobic comments made by Harry Potter creator JK Rowling have made Hogwarts Legacy (opens in new tab) one of the most controversial videogames of all time (opens in new tab). 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 (opens in new tab) (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 (opens in new tab) 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.
(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 (opens in new tab): According to analyst platform Gamesight (opens in new tab), 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.
That would seem to fly in the face of sensational reports that streamers "may lose their jobs (opens in new tab)" 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 (opens in new tab).
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 (opens in new tab) 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.