Hogwarts Legacy Is Changing How WB Thinks About Franchises

Hogwarts Legacy's historic success may change how Warner Bros. Discovery grows its biggest franchises.

Hogwarts Legacy
Photo: Warner Bros. Games

In an interview with Variety, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment president David Haddad touted the success of 2023’s Hogwarts Legacy. Not only did he confirm that Hogwarts Legacy was the “best-selling game of the year in the entire industry worldwide” but he revealed that Hogwarts Legacy has been played for 707 million cumulative hours to date.

While Hogwarts Legacy‘s sales are undeniably impressive, it’s that “hours played” number that may end up defining the title’s legacy and impact. After all, as Haddad explains, that number supports Warner Bros. Discovery’s evolving view about how the best ways to grow their various franchises.

“A very consistent message coming from the executive layer of Warner Bros. Discovery is the importance of franchises,” says Haddad. “There’s a unique and important role games have in keeping our franchises relevant, resonant, and exciting because there’s plenty of fans and plenty of people consuming content where games are their starting point, it’s their preferred form of content.”

In the relatively short term, that means that you should expect more video games set in the Wizarding World. Haddad confirms as much by referencing not just that standalone Quidditch game that enjoyed a brief beta period late last year but “a series of other things” that will “let the fans be part of this world and stories and characters in deeper and deeper ways.”

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What’s much more interesting, though, is the implication that WBD’s executives now see video games as a crucial part of their previously discussed franchise-focused development plans. Not only does the company seemingly view games as an important starting point for franchise fandom but also as the medium in which more and more fans may spend the majority of their time engaging with those franchises. Mind you, it wasn’t that long ago that WB was reportedly interested in selling their games division as part of the WB/Discovery merger process.

What’s really interesting though is that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard a major WBD employee express the idea that games will become a more important part of WBD’s future. Last year, James Gunn mentioned that the company could use video games to fill in the narrative and chronological gaps between major DC movie releases. Given the nature of Haddad’s statements, it seems like Hogwarts Legacy is exactly the kind of game that Gunn was talking about.

So what comes next? Well, last year, WB Discovery president David Zaslav (*sigh*) mentioned that the company is interested in transforming its biggest gaming franchises through “live services, multiplatform, and free-to-play extensions with the goal to have more players spending more time on more platforms.” While it’s easy to believe that WBD is very interested in producing a live service or free-to-play game set in the Wizarding World, it’s going to be much more interesting to see if Hogwarts Legacy‘s success forces them to consider less obvious corporate paths. After all, Hogwarts Legacy was a single-player, narrative-driven adventure with no notable microtransactions that went on to become the best-selling game of the year. It seems logical that WB would at least give other studios a chance to replicate that title’s success with similar projects set in the worlds of some of their most notable franchises.

Regardless, it should now be abundantly clear that Hogwarts Legacy‘s success has encouraged WBD executives to start seeing gaming as a vital part of the future of the various franchises they will continue to rely on. Based on Haddad’s quotes, we may even see the results of that renewed enthusiasm (for good, bad, or a little of both) very shortly.