At the E3 convention yesterday Sony unveiled the new Wonderbook, an interactive game addition to PlayStation3. Wonderbook will “bring to life a thousand stories… with a brand new series of adventures and experiences to explore”. Sony announced that the first story for the Wonderbook will be Book of Spells from J.K. Rowling. The Book of Spells is another title being published from the Hogwarts Library. In the game, you will be able to read original content from J.K. Rowling and travel chapter-by-chapter learning, reading and practicing 20 different spells. The Book of Spells project is a partnership with Pottermore, Sony, and London Studio.
Read about Book of Spells from the PlayStation website:
Book of Spells is the first title for Wonderbook, the latest addition to the PlayStation experience. Written by Miranda Goshawk over two hundred years ago, the Book of Spellscan be found in the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library. This advanced textbook will assist students on their journey to becoming an accomplished witch or wizard. Read, discover, learn and practice spells such as Incendio, Wingardium Leviosa and Expelliarmus, as well as discover mischievous notes, spells and humorous anecdotal facts scribbled into the margins by previous Hogwarts students. J.K. Rowling has written a conundrum that leads you through the experience, providing insight into the values a witch or wizard has to learn, and inviting you to journey through the book to unlock new content, rewarding successful students along the way.
The product has stirred up quite a bit of controversy among fans, particularly over the fact that to get the new exclusive writing from J.K. Rowling, they will have to purchase five products – PlayStation3, a Wonderbook, Playstation Eye, a Playstation Move controller and the book (if they haven’t already purchased any of them).
Many were also under the false impression, as was I, that Pottermore is currently the only place to read new writing from J.K. Rowling about Harry Potter. Clearly, this has been proved to be false, as Pottermore is now only a place to read exclusive content for free. The Book of Spells will also be a place to find new content from Rowling, but at a price.
I don’t think this is a matter you should be worrying about, though, because this will unlikely turn into a series. The Book of Spells is only the first story and the others will be unrelated to Harry Potter with content about the Harry Potter world – for now. I am currently under the impression that the content released through the new book will be a different style than those found on Pottermore. For instance, you probably won’t see a McGonagall-type entry in the book, only for the backstory on the spells. For what I know, the new content is only new spells and their backstory, and Aesop-inspired poems included to teach the player morals.
The Wonderbook is an educational product used to promote reading in children. It is a game, but it is more of an educational game where the story comes to life. In some ways its like Pottermore, but Pottermore lacks the augmented reality that the Wonderbook is; Pottermore and Wonderbook are entirely different things. One’s a game, the other is an experience.
I’ve also been seeing that some do not understand Pottermore’s place in the project. Let’s just get one thing straight: this is not Pottermore’s product. The Wonderbook is Sony’s project/product, as most of you realize. The story, the Book of Spells, is a project that brings together Sony, Pottermore, and London Studio. If I’m understanding correctly, Pottermore is only that – a partner in the making of this product. From the viewpoint of a fan, it is not clear what is Pottermore’s role in the project. Perhaps all I’m saying is entirely untrue – and we’ll share the facts with you once there is some statement from either companies – but for now, those are all my theories about Pottermore’s role.