Wizarding World Gold Is Here, But Who’s Going to Buy It?
The details of Wizarding World Gold, the subscription service offered by the former Pottermore, have been announced, and fans can now preorder it. MuggleNet had already learned most of these details back in May, and one staff member wrote that this service seemed like a step in the wrong direction.
Fans have had some time to think about this service, and now that we know it will cost US residents $74.99 and UK residents £59.99, it’s time to see what everyone thinks.
Here is a general overview of what is included in Wizarding World Gold:
- A welcome gift including J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts sketch, a personalized Key and Curios journal, and an enchanted key membership pin
- Access to the seven Harry Potter e-books while you’re a member
- Selected discounts
- Priority access to tickets, merchandise, and collectibles
- Special subscriber events
- More collectible pins
The fine print also lets us know that these perks are subject to change. Now, let’s find out what everyone thinks of this subscription.
We tweeted a poll to our readers and conducted an internal poll of our staff members to see who will be purchasing Gold and why. Here are the results.
Do you intend to join Wizarding World Gold for $75/year?
— MuggleNet: #1 Wizarding World Resource Since 1999 (@MuggleNet) October 15, 2019
902 people voted in our Twitter poll, and the top answer was overwhelming “No thank you” with 74% of the votes.
Some fans also replied to our poll with more thoughts on why they were voting no. Many thought it was too expensive and said they wouldn’t be able to afford it.
You left out the “Wish I could afford it” option. 😢
— Brandy Bagley (@BrandyBagley) October 16, 2019
Some people said they chose no simply because Gold isn’t available yet in their region. (This came up in the staff survey as well.) Right now, only those in the US and UK can purchase the subscription, which leaves out a large number of Potter fans.
Others believe the idea of a paid subscription service is entirely against everything fandom stands for.
Fanbased communities, access to information and to exchange experiences, thoughts and ideas around the topic that concern the interested, engaged and curious- should always be free of charge. #noexeptions #freeofcharge #donotexclude #include #culture #fandom
— Maria van Wilsem K (@maria_vwk) October 15, 2019
At its current price point, Gold excludes a large number of fans, especially younger fans who don’t have any money to join an exclusive fan club. Wizarding World Digital is still offering the Official Harry Potter Fan Club, which is free and will provide members with a newsletter and member benefits, but Wizarding World Digital still hasn’t released any additional details on this club.
We can assume the company will wait until after the Gold preorder ends to tell us more about what will be included in the free club, but with Gold promising new Potter content, fans might be tempted to pay the annual fee.
Our internal poll asked whether staff members would purchase Gold and included three options:
- No – not interested, sounds lame or like a cash grab
- No – cannot afford it
- Yes – already preordered or will purchase it soon
The majority of our staff members chose “No – not interested, sounds lame or like a cash grab,” followed closely by “No – cannot afford it.”
Many staff members objected to the perks included with the price. One person said, “It feels like $75 for a notebook, postcard, and a pin…”
Another team member agreed, saying, “Who can afford to pay that for a notebook and some coupon codes that require you to spend even more money to cash in?” She also brought up the fact that it’s an annual subscription, so members will have to pay every year.
One staff member said he would rather support fan creators.
I have absolutely no interest in subscribing to Wizarding World Gold, despite the perks. $74.99 a year is equivalent to $6.25 a month, and I spend more than that on various Patreon subscriptions (that technically have less perks than Wizarding World Gold, so it’s not an issue of value for money), but I’d rather support independent creators and fans.
It seems like many of the team members agreed that they did not want to support something that just felt like a money grab; although, one person said, “I voted for ‘sounds like a cash grab’ but ordered it like 30 seconds later.”
Those of us who have grown up with Harry Potter are now adults with a little extra money to put into our hobbies. It does feel like Wizarding World Digital is attempting to cash in on our stability (or what little we have) by offering us an exclusive subscription similar to Patreon.
However, Patreon allows us to support independent creators who have a passion for Potter. Gold is more of an exclusive corporate membership, especially at its current price point.
The overwhelming consensus seems to be that Potter fans view Gold with contempt and are not planning to purchase. Wizarding World Digital, which began as the exciting (and free) site Pottermore, is taking a step in the wrong direction with this new subscription service.
But if you have purchased Gold (which this author did), you are not alone. The subscription sounds like a fun way to get a few unique merchandise items and hopefully some great discounts at events or stores.
Hopefully, the Official Harry Potter Fan Club will offer the free membership the fandom is looking for. If not, Potter fans may become even more disenchanted with Wizarding World Digital than they already are.