The highly anticipated new role-playing computer game Hogwarts Legacy, which is set in the enchanted realm of Harry Potter, is already shattering sales records. Even before its official release on February 10, it had already become the most popular title on the streaming site Twitch thanks to its early access debut.
However, as a result of the author J.K. Rowling’s transphobic remarks in recent years, the debate surrounding the game has become a slaughter of interpersonal politics. This is despite the fact that the fantasy franchise has grown progressively soiled.
Despite the fact that the developers of Hogwarts Legacy made clear efforts to distance themselves from Rowling’s history of demeaning transgender people, their fig leaf to the community, which consisted of a non-playable trans woman character with an unfortunate masculine name, has been criticized as being a cheap attempt to pander to the community.
In the meantime, a heated discussion on the moral implications of either purchasing or streaming the game has taken over social media platforms such as Twitter, Twitch, Reddit, and Discord. Rowling did not have a hand in the development of the product but would undoubtedly profit from it.
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As a result, some people are reluctant to contribute even a small amount to her staggering riches. Some people in this group have also stopped following broadcasters for playing Hogwarts Legacy, or they have tried to persuade those streamers not to play the game completely.
A significant portion of this discussion has taken place among the gaming community on Twitch. Hasan Piker, a popular streamer on Twitch with 2.4 million followers, said on Tuesday that he would not be playing Hogwarts Legacy in order to avoid being “bullied” and dubbed transphobic by critics of Rowling’s work. Piker said that he did not want to be associated with the game in any way.
He persisted in making his argument despite receiving opposition about his depiction of future moves to boycott as fruitless. In the meantime, Clara Sorrenti, a Canadian trans woman who streams under the moniker Keffals, began defending Piker. She stated that the uproar over Hogwarts Legacy had wrecked an opportunity for charity streams that would have earned money for transgender individuals.
Keffals, who was forced to go into hiding last year during her campaign to take down the hate forum Kiwi Farms, assured her followers that you aren’t transphobic if you want to play the wizard game. She has also considered playing it herself for a charity stream “if other leftist streamers won’t do it.” Keffals was forced to go into hiding last year during her campaign to take down Kiwi Farms.
Although it would appear that there has not been a significant attempt to boycott the game due to its widespread popularity up to this point, it is not entirely apparent if such a move was ever made.
According to Juniper, a transgender individual who is the creator and co-host of the podcast Western Kabuki, I think those on the right who are gloating that this game is succeeding will always take an opportunity to paint trans people as hysterical and whatever else. Juniper made these comments to Rolling Stone.
But other than some online communities, there hasn’t been much, other than some bullying of streamers who have played it, which has really not been prevalent at all. But other than that, there hasn’t been much. She is planning to host her very own charity stream of a video game called Celeste, which was developed by transgender women.
Jenna Lynn Meowri, who has 1.3 million followers and streams to over a quarter million people on Twitch, is one of the few other social media personalities who has suggested that people have received death threats for playing Hogwarts Legacy; however, any evidence of such extreme abuse has been scarce. People who identify as LGBTQ experience hate speech that is disproportionately violent and pervasive online on a regular basis.
The situation is just as acrimonious, if not more so, on Reddit, where a disagreement regarding the video game has caused one group to break away from the main board for Hogwarts Legacy. The more recent subreddit, r/hogwartslegacyJKR, has a pinned set of Rules that contain the following provision: No pro-LGBTQ posting of any type; you will be reported and permanently banned from this community; this community is safe and supportive of men and women.
At least one member of the Reddit community has flagged it as a hate post. Others have inundated the subreddit with posts using the tagline trans rights are human rights as well as spoilers for the actual game. And a user who identified themselves as a trans male voiced his displeasure with the fact that people are being douchebags regarding Hogwarts Legacy.
In a written statement, he said, I’m officially removing myself from the Trans and LGBT+ community. I’m humiliated enough to be me; I don’t need to feel any worse for being a member of a community that behaves like a bunch of Trump supporters and Republicans over a fucking VIDEO GAME, she said. I’m ashamed enough to be ashamed.
The official Hogwarts Legacy Twitter account confirmed that the popular Harry Potter wizarding world game has set a record on Twitch with 1.28M peak concurrent viewers at launch. pic.twitter.com/kuWs1aiL4Z
— IGN (@IGN) February 10, 2023
This message echoed the feeling of many people who defended the game, which was that anyone who gave them grief for enjoying the Harry Potter environment was poison. Players were also unconcerned about any issue when discussing Hogwarts Legacy on the platform Discord, which features at least two distinct discussion servers dedicated to the game. On Thursday, one player claimed, Every troll on here that is attempting to discourage us from enjoying this game is just wasting their time.
However, the angry response to any fallout that Rowling or the game may receive is certainly exaggerated, given that many people who play Hogwarts Legacy will never be aware of any of these things. I do feel on some level that Harry Potter is too enormous to simply ignore, says Juniper, adding that there was no chance the game would be unsuccessful. I do believe on some level that Harry Potter is too large to simply ignore.
It doesn’t help that the vast majority of people in the general public don’t care about trans people, but at the end of the day, we live in a world where consumerism reigns supreme, everyone has to have the newest thing, and we all know the psychic hold that Harry Potter has on every generation over Gen Z, the speaker said.
She is of the opinion that the typical person is not really linked to the online cultural battles and that they are also not aware of the level to which Rowling has associated herself with far-right radicals.
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Despite this, there are Rowling supporters who are reveling in their ideological triumph. When the first episode of Hogwarts Legacy was released, one of the show’s voice performers, Greg Ellis, sent a special thank-you note to Rowling for the role. When she thanked him in return, Ellis said that he had been previously canceled for supporting her and the activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali when the latter defended Rowling from claims of transphobia in the year 2020.
Rowling was being accused of being transphobic at the time. Ellis included a link to one of his own tweets from that year, in which he anticipated that the great wikification of the 2010s would soon come to an end.
With all of this fury in the air, it’s easy to understand why, for some gamers — despite the vast majority of fans who don’t care one way or the other about this stuff — the magic of Harry Potter has long since been extinguished.
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