Sony Works With JK Rowling To Bring Harry Potter To Life Once More
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com
While Sony took time to announce several new games at this year’s E3 conference, they only announced one “new” addition to the Sony family. Teaming up with none other than JK Rowling, Sony has introduced “Wonderbook,” an augmented reality platform for their Playstation 3 console, writing the Harry Potter franchise yet another paycheck.
Specially designed books can be used with the Playstation 3 console to create new and interactive content. Depending on the title, players can either hold the book up to the Eye digital camera to see new material or wave the Move controller across the book itself. One of the first books available to be read by Wonderbook will be a new Harry Potter addition, The Book of Spells, partly written by Ms. Rowling herself.
The PlayStation Move controller becomes a wand for this new, interactive Harry Potter experience. By waving the controller over the book, players can cast spells and slay dragons as if they were actually in the book. All the action and animation occurs on the screen, of course.
The Wonderbooks platform combines the motion-detection technology of the Move Controller and the Eye digital camera. Players can make different motions and gestures to control the story as they follow along in the book. For instance, in the book of spells, players not only cast spells and craft potions, but they will also be able to defeat paper dragons.
Signing on JK Rowling to this endeavor is news in and of itself, as the quiet writer is often very protective of her characters and IP.
This isn’t the first push Sony has made to drive adoption of their Eye digital camera in the augmented reality field. In the past, Sony has released EyePet and Eye of Judgment games, both of which had limited success.
Wonderbook: The Book of Spells isn’t expected to be released until the 2012 holiday season, and availability and pricing have yet to be announced.
While the JK Rowling collaboration and Wonderbooks reveal are pretty interesting, they were a let-down to those anxious gamers who were hoping for the next generation of Playstation console or a cheaper Vita, Sony’s handheld gaming system.
Sony did take time to announce a “crystal white” version of the Vita, and said classic PlayStation games will be ported to the handheld, but the price of Vita will remain the same.
Speaking to the BBC, Casey Lynch, editor-in-chief at IGN North America said, “I don’t think what they came out with today will be strong enough to carry the Vita without a significant price drop.”
Sony Computer Entertainment America’s CEO and president told eager fans not to hold their breath for a new console, however.
Saying the 6-year-old PlayStation 3 “continues to shatter expectations,” Jack Tretton said the next PlayStation console is still another few years away.
“Back to the original PlayStation we always thought in 10-year product life cycles,” Tretton said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I think you’re seeing those generations be longer and longer because the technology is so great, it’s difficult to surpass it.”
The E3 conference continues through this week in Los Angeles, California.