EA once canceled an MMO based on: Harry Potter because they mistakenly believed that the IP would not last more than a year or two. The revelation came from ex-EA Director of Product Marketing Kim Salzer as she taped an interview in her current role as fractional Chief Marketing Officer at Original Gamer Life.
The Harry Potter MMO had managed to get past the prototyping stage and into a playable beta that the company was actively testing with young players before being canceled. When asked about games that “she knew were going to get really cool” but were later canned or shelved indefinitely, Salzer explained more:
You know sometimes I just don’t know where to start but a big one for me because I was involved so personally and it’s such a huge IP that lives on is a massive online multiplayer game for Harry Potter . We’ve done all the research. We had expanded the beta. It was a combination of offline/online experience where we sent things to the kids like prizes and ribbons and things like that. Thoroughly researched, very confident in its success. But it was killed off, for lack of a better term, because EA was going through some changes at the time and they just didn’t know enough or believe that IP would have a shelf life of more than a year or two.
It was pretty crazy to see it again and a lot of work had been done. And it was also a fun one because we were doing research with kids and we didn’t do that a lot in gaming back then, right. And that was actually just fun to do.
Admittedly, the hype for the franchise grew stronger with each book released and wasn’t as rabid in 1997 as it was in later years, but in retrospect it seems like an incredible conclusion to cancel the game. EA later went on to publish all Harry Potter movie tie-in games, starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 2001 and ending with: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011. In any case, the franchise will continue in the world of video games with the upcoming release of Hogwarts Legacy in 2022, this time published by Warner Bros. games.