When 'Harry Potter' Taught Kids About E-Commerce (By Choking Them)
Let's go back to 2018, a time when finding Harry Potter-adjacent dirt that wasn't 100% caused by J.K. Rowling proved more challenging than nowadays. That surprisingly distant-feeling year saw the release of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a mobile game that's probably about solving the mystery of how to steal your parents' credit card in order to buy more play tokens.
Hogwarts Mystery, unlike Candy Crush, doesn't just wait as it correctly assumes that players will insert another e-coin as soon as they can. Mystery shows a tree strangling a kid until players pay up.
In this game, the character runs on the oh-so-magical meter of "energy," something that's engineered to get depleted very quickly. Look, we get it; we feel tired just thinking about it, but this prompts our characters – who all look like children – to be caught by a tree that'll strangle them for an hour and a half unless they pay. You'd think that the controversy generated by this, combined with how you've probably never heard about this game, caused it to go under fast, but the tree racketeering simulator is making big bucks. Yeah, this is a small indie game that *checks notes* only made over 100 million in revenue a year after release. Who knows how much it's at now.
In a move that would make Rowling proud, the developers took a whole year to say anything about their weird willingness to strangle kids in games, then doubled down on the mechanic by saying that Harry Potter himself is also put in a lot of dangerous situations in books, so that's probably the same. Can't wait for that new FIFA title where a boot comes out of the PS5 to kick players in the balls until they pay and for EA to say that's okay because FIFA has always been about kicking balls.
You can see Tiagosvn talking trash about J.K. Rowling 24/7 on his Twitter.
Top Image: Jam City