Magical Hogwarts Mystery rakes in $40 million and counting

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Harry Potter
Technically, Hogwarts Mystery is free, but in-app purchases have generated millions for its developer.
Photo: Jam City, Inc.

An RPG set in the Harry Potter universe is a huge hit. Hogwarts Mystery only debuted two months ago and has already made its developers $40 million.

There are a couple of reasons for this success. The obvious one is it’s Harry Potter. Duh. But the other is that this game so frequently requests in-app purchases that it’s garnered heavy criticism.

The licensing fee for J.K. Rowling’s characters was almost certainly quite high. And Apple takes in 30 percent of all App Store purchases. So how much profit Jam City has made off Hogwarts Mystery is itself a mystery. But it’s likely quite a tidy sum.

For comparison with that $40 million figure, the classic Monument Valley game made $14 million in the first two years it was available. On the other end of the spectrum, the iOS version of Fortnite alone has raked in $100 million since the game launched a few months ago.

Incidentally, the revenue from Hogwarts Mystery comes from both iOS and Android in-app purchases. About 58 percent of it comes from iPhone/iPad users, according to market analysis firm Sensor Tower. 

More about Hogwarts Mystery

Harry Potter doesn’t actually appear in Hogwarts Mystery. It’s set after He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had his first defeat, but while Harry, Hermione, and Ron are still babies. The idea is that you’ll defeat the forces of evil, not have Harry solve your problems.

After personalizing their character, players start at the wizard school. Gameplay is focused on social interactions with teachers and other students, not blasting things with wands.

Speaking of teachers, the game features Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, Michael Gambon as Professor Dumbledore, Warwick Davis as Professor Flitwick, Sally Mortemore as Madam Irma Pince, Gemma Jones as Madam Pomfrey, and Zoe Wanamaker as Madam Hooch.

Criticism of Hogwarts Mystery centers around the need for energy, which replenishes at a slow rate. Either players wait several hours before they can go on their next adventure or buy gems.

That said, there are plenty of people who love Hogwarts Mystery. The game scored a 4.6 out of 5 on the App Store, with over 355,000 ratings. And clearly, loads of players are willing to pony up for gems.