The news of the cancelled MMO comes from Kimberly Salze, a former director of product marketing at EA who, when questioned about cancelled titles throughout her tenure, mentioned the MMO. The MMO was well on its way to completion, or at least it appeared to be.
EA was working on a large-scale Harry Potter MMO at one point, however the project was shelved during development. WB Games is planned to release Hogwarts Legacy in 2022, the first significant Harry Potter game in a long time, but far from the first. Many Harry Potter games were released during the Harry Potter craze. The series isn’t as popular in 2021, but it’s still a significant IP with a lot of fans who want to see more of it. Hogwarts Legacy will attempt to fill this hole, but in an other reality, it’s likely that a continuing Harry Potter MMO has already done so.
It’s unclear when exactly the project got canned, but Salze was with EA from 2000 to 2003, according to her LinkedIn page. During this window is when the first two movies released. Meanwhile, World of Warcraft wasn’t even out, not releasing until 2004. In other words, there may be a parallel universe out there where a Harry Potter MMO became one of the most popular games of all time, not WoW.
As for why the game was cancelled, Salze doesn’t go into great detail, but notes that it was a transitional stage for EA and because the higher-ups at it didn’t believe the IP had staying power. Obviously, they were very wrong.