Gamers are currently enjoying the early access period in Hogwarts Legacy, and tomorrow the game properly launches. However, if you've been on the internet in any capacity, you're going to be aware that Hogwarts Legacy remains a controversial topic, largely thanks to the views of the universe's creator, J.K. Rowling.
Now, the developers at Hogwarts Legacy have assured fans that Rowling has no connection to the game and the work on it, but considering that it uses the IP created by her, and therefore she will profit form it, this hasn't exactly stopped a good amount of backlash coming the game's way. There are a fair few reasons why the controversy around Hogwarts Legacy has persisted, and for those not exactly clued in on the conversation, it might be confusing to understand why the internet feels so divided.
The first and foremost reason that some have called for boycotts on Hogwarts Legacy is the anti-trans viewpoints of J.K Rowling. Again, while not associated with the development of the game, many have argued that supporting her IP through buying Hogwarts Legacy also supports the author herself. This has led to the trans community in particular calling for people not to play the game.
Recently, it was discovered that Hogwarts Legacy has actually introduced a trans character, which marks a first for the Harry Potter universe. While some have argued this is a strong step forwards for the franchise, it has been reported that the developers only included this character to pivot conversation away from Rowling and her controversial viewpoints. Even with this character, there is the argument that Hogwarts Legacy cannot simply throw in a trans person and then redeem the IPs connections with its creator and her viewpoints. Essentially, through association with the Wizarding World, Hogwarts Legacy, whether indirectly or directly, aligns itself with the person behind it.
Another reason why the game has landed itself in hot water is through the critical reception it has received. For the most part, Hogwarts Legacy has been very well reviewed. Some were expecting it to get review bombed due to the aforementioned controversy. With these positive reviews, some criticism has emerged online arguing that there's somewhat of a bias among these reviewers due to their fondness for the Harry Potter franchise.
In the past, other concerns have been raised which are more directly to do with Hogwarts Legacy's content. With the story focusing around the goblin rebellion of 1890, some were worried that it could take on some anti-Semitic undertones due to the portrayal of goblins by Rowling in the Harry Potter universe. However, while this has been a concern, the reasons for boycotting the game are still largely limited to its connections with J.K. Rowling and the profit that it will make the author as she owns the rights to the Wizarding World.
Concerns around Rowling's views towards the trans community first emerged in 2018, and her stance was made clear in 2020 following a 3000 word essay that outlined her concerns with trans activism. Since then, everything and anything Harry Potter-related has been the centre of an ongoing storm of controversy, and it appears Hogwarts Legacy is the latest piece of media to end up in hot water because of Rowling's viewpoints.
Currently, people are boycotting Hogwarts Legacy through refusing to purchase, play, or support the game. There have been some more organized efforts now the game is playable, such as streamers banding together to not broadcast the game, and there have also been bans on discussion of J.K. Rowling on the game's subreddit and forum on Resetera. It has been claimed by the mods of Hogwarts Legacy's subreddit that discussion of J.K. Rowling just leads to toxicity, and so mentioning the author has been disallowed. It's clear no matter which side of the debate you find yourself on, this is a controversial topic that has sparked a number of interesting debates online about the games we play and the people we support through playing them.