The Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game sadly hexes itself
Commentary: The Harry Potter game's biggest stumbling block is its maddening paywall.
Clifford ColbyManaging Editor
Clifford is a managing editor at CNET, where he leads How-To coverage. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he roots for the Oakland A's.
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It's too easy to cap all your free storage space when interacting with All the Things from this wild and wonderful world, not without paying for more at multiple steps along the way. I can't free up space by using ingredients to brew potions because I lack required ingredients. And I can't gather the necessary ingredients because I have no free space to store them.
I can delete items to free up space, of course, and I can buy vault extensions to expand my capacity for $5 (you get 10 more spots for "spell energy"), but something feels off with the balance of the wizarding game, if playing for a handful of hours pushes me to make purchases to keep playing.
I'm not against buying items. I've upgraded my bag and bought Pokeballs in Pokemon Go. I've purchased key lockers in Ingress too. And I don't mind managing my inventory by ruthless pruning items to stay under a cap. But the range Harry Potter: Wizard Unite gives you to play before paying feels much smaller than in Pokemon Go and Ingress, Niantic's first two games. The new Minecraft Earth takes a different approach and gives you unlimited storage.
The Wizards Unite store, named Diagon Alley, offers everything from an Anti-Calamity Kit for $4.99 to Vault Extenders, starting at $2.
wizards are willing to pay. According to market research firm SensorTower, over its first weekend, nearly 3 million players installed Harry Potter: Wizards Unite on iOS and Android devices and spent $1.1 million. In comparison, SensorTower noted, 24 million players installed Pokemon Go during its first four days, racking up $28 million in player spending.