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Hogwarts Legacy Just Broke A 14-Year Games Industry Streak

According to newly released data, 2023's best-selling video game was Hogwarts Legacy from WB Games. And that means that for the first time in over a decade, the top-selling game of the year wasn’t another Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, or other Rockstar-published game.

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Released in February 2023, Hogwarts Legacy wasn’t a hit with critics and ended up not winning many major awards. But there are a lot of Harry Potter fans in the world and the first big, AAA open-world game set in that universe was bound to be a smash hit—even if it’s not very good. It also helped that the game was ported to basically every platform under the sun, including the Nintendo Switch. So it’s not a big shocker it sold very, very well. Yet, it is surprising to see it break a long-running streak that started all the way back when George W. Bush was still in the White House.

On January 18, Mat Piscatella—video game industry analyst and executive director at Circana (formerly NPD)—tweeted some interesting stats about video game hardware and software sales across the whole year of 2023. Included in these new stats was the confirmation that yes, Hogwarts Legacy was 2023's best-selling video game in the United States.

According to the newly released data, Hogwarts Legacy was the best-selling game of the year on PS5 and PS4. Over on Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One, it was the second best-selling game. And it was number five on Switch.

As Piscatella pointed out on Twitter, in 2008 Rock Band was the best-selling video game in the United States. Since then, every single year, Call of Duty or a Rockstar-published video game topped the charts. Here’s what that looks like:

Wowza, that’s a lot of CoD! It’s interesting to see that the only games that can crack the top spot and beat out Call of Duty are open-world games, like GTA and 2023's Hogwarts Legacy. That might explain why so many studios and publishers keep making bigger and bigger open-world video games. People seem to like them. Though, not as much as your average Call of Duty.

If you are curious about the top 12 best-selling games in 2023 across all platforms, here’s that list:

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