Post updated to add the following video of the actual demo at E3:
Late tonight at E3, Sony announced a new Harry Potter interactive video game for the Playstation 3 along with yet another piece of hardware peripheral for the PS3 system: Wonderbook.
Wonderbook is a tablet that communicates with the PS3 and allows the user to flip through pages of a digital book with in the game. It is intended to be used as a type of controller alongside with the move controller for an interactive reading experience. (Sound familiar?) Here is the official Sony promo for it:
A couple things that stick out to me in this promo. First, is the prime placement of Pottermore at the beginning. The logo appears prominently as if the two products are directly correlating. Second, and the most distressing for me, is it advertises “new writing from J. K. Rowling”. Something that up until now we thought was an exclusive idea associated with Pottermore itself.
Don’t get me wrong, Book of Shadows looks quite spiffy in its demo at the E3 convention. It’s augmented reality, so the player is shown on screen holding a wand and a mystical looking spellbook. These appear in place of what the player is really holding: a Sony Move controller in one hand, and the new Sony Wonderbook in the other. The wonderbook is a grey and white folding tablet and I’m not clear on the electronics involved inside the book itself, as the unit costs only $40. What I can tell you is that it works in conjunction with the Playstation Eye camera. (That’s right folks, to play this you need three pieces of peripheral hardware in addition to the Playstation 3 itself.)
For more information on the Wonderbook, and an adorable non HP related promo for it, CLICK HERE to visit Sony’s official anouncement.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any confirmation in either direction as to whether or not the “new writing” featured in Book of Spells will also appear on Pottermore. According to J.K. Rowling’s official site, she had decided to publish all her additional Harry Potter writings for free on Pottermore instead of immediately publishing a Potter encyclopedia. Up until now I was operating under the belief that the remainder of Rowling’s Potter scribblings would be housed fully on Pottermore.
I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only Potter fan that would feel downright frustrated to find out that a certain portion of Rowling extra writings were going to require four pieces of Sony manufactured hardware to read the information.
“Book of Spells lets players literally practice like a Hogwarts student. With the book laid out in front of them, the pages are animated on your television and the Move controller appears like a wand in your hand. This being Harry Potter, the book is animated on the screen; a note written by an ex-student can be touched with your wand to reveal a paper dragon. Once the spells have been mastered, the game reveals mini-games inside Hogwarts for you to try them out and earn points for your house, whether it’s Gryffindor or Slytherin.
All the passages of text are written by Rowling herself and once a certain number of spells are mastered, narrative poems about old Hogwarts students are your reward.”
I expect we will hear from Pottermore on these developments tomorrow, as Pottermore is Sony as well. I shall keep you all updated here on the blog and on twitter.
Have any thoughts on Wonderbook: Book of spells? How do you feel about how Sony is fully taking advantage of it’s partnership with J. K. Rowling?