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Harry Potter breaks Call of Duty’s streak as bestselling game in US

Hogwarts Legacy has sold more than 22M copies since launch

A wizard casts a dark spell with a red beam and sparks coming out of his wand in Hogwarts Legacy Image: Avalanche Software/Warner Bros. Games
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Hogwarts Legacy was the bestselling game in the U.S. in 2023, according to new data from Circana, the company formerly known as the NPD Group. Warner Bros. and Avalanche Software’s game set in the world of Harry Potter outsold this year’s Call of Duty, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, breaking that brand’s four-year streak as the No. 1 annual moneymaker in the U.S.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment president David Haddad told Variety earlier this month that Hogwarts Legacy sold 22 million units in 2023. But those figures likely represent the global sales of Hogwarts Legacy, which was released last year on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Call of Duty still maintains a separate impressive sales streak: As a franchise, it was “the best-selling franchise in U.S. full game dollar sales for a record 15th consecutive year,” according to Circana analyst Mat Piscatella. That’s because both Modern Warfare 3 and 2022’s Modern Warfare 2 were both top-10 selling games last year, at No. 2 and No. 7, respectively.

Only a handful of games have outsold a Call of Duty game in the U.S. over the past 15 years. Since its domination of the U.S. sales charts began in 2009 with Modern Warfare 2, only Grand Theft Auto 5 (in 2013) and Red Dead Redemption 2 (in 2018) have interrupted Activision’s streak.

Here’s a look at the last 15 years’ bestselling games in the U.S., which has been mostly dominated by Activision’s shooter franchise:

  • 2009 — Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • 2010 — Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • 2011 — Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • 2012 — Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • 2013 — Grand Theft Auto 5
  • 2014 — Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • 2015 — Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • 2016 — Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • 2017 — Call of Duty: WWII
  • 2018 — Red Dead Redemption 2
  • 2019 — Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • 2020 — Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • 2021 — Call of Duty: Vanguard
  • 2022 — Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • 2023 — Hogwarts Legacy

Modern Warfare 3 was, however, the bestselling game in the U.S. for the months of November and December, besting platform exclusives Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Super Mario Bros. Wonder during those months. So while last year’s Call of Duty may have ranked low with critics, which dinged the game for its weak campaign, it was still a commercial success — and still a good get for Microsoft, which acquired Activision Blizzard in October.

While Warner Bros. has not announced a sequel to Hogwarts Legacy, its outstanding performance will almost assuredly warrant one. Potterheads do have one announced game to look forward to, however: Harry Potter: Quidditch Champions, a stand-alone multiplayer game based on the fictional sport of quidditch.

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