“What if a book could come to life?”
This is the concept behind Sony Computer Entertainment’s new Wonderbook platform, an interactive book that uses both Augmented Reality technology and the Playstation Move to bring stories to life before your very eyes. Being developed by the team at London Studio (Behind EyeToy and EyePet), they believe that this will be the most advanced AR implementation out there. As the name suggests, it is a physical book that will act as a platform for a range of different titles that the whole family will be able to enjoy – from games, reading experiences and adventures depending on where the author or developers want to take it.
The first title announced for this platform is “Book of Spells”, developed by London Studio with writing from easily one of the worlds most popular and successful writers J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter line of novels, and her recent Pottermore website. From the world of Harry Potter, Book of Spells is an enchanted textbook written over 200 years ago by Miranda Goshawk. Open the book, and you are immediately transported to the Hogwarts library, where your lessons will begin. Chapter by chapter, you will be able to read about and practise 20 spells, picking up valuable experiences and lessons along the way – as well as House Points – just like a student at Hogwarts.
J.K. Rowling had this to say on the announcement:
Wonderbook: Book of Spells is the closest a Muggle can come to a real spellbook. I’ve loved working with Sony’s creative team to bring my spells, and some of the history behind them, to life. This is an extraordinary device that offers a reading experience like no other.
Andrew House, President and Group CEO of SCE had this to add:
The partnership between J.K. Rowling and Sony, and in particular Sony Computer Entertainment, is one I am personally very excited about. We have brought together one of the world’s greatest entertainment brands and the most successful children’s book series in history. We believe that Wonderbook: Book of Spells represents the next revolution in storytelling and are excited that PlayStation technologies are able to bring even more of the world of Harry Potter to life in exciting new ways.
Released in November 2012, Wonderbook: Book of Spells provides students with a safe environment in which to read, discover, learn and practice spells they already know and love, such as Incendio, Wingardium Leviosa and Expelliarmus, as well as discover mischievous notes and spells scribbled into the margins by previous Hogwarts students. In addition to humorous anecdotal facts relating to the spells, J.K. Rowling has written a conundrum that leads you through the experience, providing insight into what makes a successful witch or wizard, and inviting fans to journey through the bookand unlock new tales at the end of each chapter rewarding students for their successful spellcasting.
While not necessarily going to win over the hardcore gamers, I hope to see this become a success as it is an interesting platform.