Pottermore reveals more about the Story Navigator feature

The Pottermore Insider revealed more information about the new Story Navigator that was announced a few weeks ago.

The Story Navigator is a new feature that will enable users to more easily explore the available moments on Pottermore.com. This new feature and (at least) two others will debut in the coming weeks when the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban chapters are released.

Today Pottermore announced that the Story Navigator will also feature a “Discovery Bar” and “Moment Markers”. The Discovery Bar, the Insider post reads, will be “displayed along the bottom of each Moment thumbnail on the Story Navigator,” and will show the progress you’ve made through the Moment.

The Discovery Bar is the strip of gold at the bottom of the Moments' thumbnails. Image courtesy of Pottermore.

The Discovery Bar is the strip of gold at the bottom of the Moments’ thumbnails.
Image courtesy of Pottermore.

From the post:

If you’re ever worried that you have overlooked a hidden Galleon or Potions ingredient, or even that you’ve missed one of the exclusive entries by J.K. Rowling, you will now be sure whether you’ve explored each Moment in full, or whether you still have more to discover. There will be a new Discovery Bar displayed along the bottom of each Moment thumbnail on the Story Navigator, so those of you who like to leave no stone unturned will know whether you have discovered everything within that Moment or not.

As we said above, there will also be “Moment Markers”, which will be placed against the thumbnail images of the Moments to indicate where new information from J.K. Rowling can be discovered, where to listen to snippets from the digital audio books, and where a challenge awaits.

The Red Quill marker will appear on the thumbnail of each Moment that contains exclusive new writing from J.K. Rowling, so you’ll never miss discovering these informative entries.

The Challenge marker lets you know that the Moment contains a challenge, such as ‘de-gnoming the garden’ or ‘recapturing the Cornish pixies’.

Make sure you have your sound turned on when you see this Speaker marker – it means a snippet from the digital audio books will be played within the Moment.

We have all this and more to look forward to in the coming weeks. You can read about the other upcoming site features by tracking our “Features and Capabilitiescategory right here. The new features will be available once the final installment of Prisoner of Azkaban is available in the coming weeks.

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Pottermore on PlayStation Home adds new Hogwarts locations

Hufflepuff Common Room on Pottermore on PS Home.

Hufflepuff Common Room on Pottermore on PS Home.

The Pottermore Insider has announced the release of new locations on Pottermore on PlayStation Home.

With this release, users can explore Hogwarts, and all that entails with it. According to the Insider, if you’ve been sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses on Pottermore.com and you’ve linked your account with your PSN ID, “you can now step inside the Great Hall where you will be able view your own Sorting Ceremony beneath the enchanted ceiling and floating candles.” Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?!

Along with this, users can now enter their House Common Rooms and meet and socialize with other members of their house. A new mini-game has also been introduced; with Charms, players can “master the art of levitation”. In the game, players will “levitate a feather and guide it through maze after maze of enchanted obstacles.” You have to beat the clock for maximum points!

Finally, users can now purchase their very own house in Hogsmeade and choose from a wide collection of furniture items to decorate their “wizarding abode” in their own unique way. Unfortunately, these items have to be purchased with Muggle money, not galleons (no word on any exact prices just yet).

These all sound like very fun new features, and we hope players enjoy!

What do you think about the new capabilities? Do you play Pottermore on PlayStation Home? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.

Pottermore announces the winner of the third House Cup…

Slytherin has won the third Pottermore House Cup!

Slytherin has won the third Pottermore House Cup!

Today, Pottermore announced the winners of the third House Cup competition.

And the winner is… Slytherin! Congratulations snakes!

Here are the final standings:

1st Place: Slytherin 26,990,924 points

2nd Place: Ravenclaw – 26,916,194 points

3rd Place: Gryffindor – 26,740,44 points

4th Place: Hufflepuff – 26,715,401 points

It was another very close race, but ultimately Slytherin House came through at the end and won. Ravenclaw won second, Gryffindor third, and Hufflepuff came in last, unfortunately. This is the second time Slytherin has won the House Cup; they also won the first Pottermore House last June.

Pottermore has transformed the previously purple Great Hall banners into green once again, in honor of Slytherin’s victory. You can see how the Great Hall looks in the picture above.

The prize for this House Cup is a special badge that Slytherin House members will later be able to collect on Pottermore.com. As explained in an earlier post, details of the badge will be announced very soon, most likely tomorrow. We’ll keep you updated!

As for now, the points have been reset and thus the fourth House Cup competition commences! Happy Dueling and Brewing! 🙂

Pottermore announces third House Cup award date, House Pride Week

Pottermore has announced that the third Pottermore House Cup will be awarded Thursday, April 25.

They announced the House Cup in a post on the Pottermore Insider:

This is the third Pottermore House Cup – a friendly contest between the four houses who compete to earn the most house points and win the Pottermore House Cup. Points can be earned by successfully brewing a potion or winning a duel and the house  with the most points is named the winner.

This contest’s winner will be revealed on Thursday April 25 (and the hour-glasses will be concealed from Tuesday April 23 until the winner is announced).

Along with the House Cup, Pottermore announced that they will also be celebrating House Pride Week this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Pottermore shared prideful messages from users in the houses of Gryffindor and Slytherin, respectively. Thursday and Friday will see us with messages from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.

The winner of this House Cup will not get new chapters or artwork, but rather a Pottermore Badge that “will later be collectible on Pottermore.com.” Pottermore stated that “details of the badge will be revealed upon the announcement of the third Pottermore House Cup winner.”

And with that, let the brewing and dueling ensue! Good luck to all the houses!

Pottermore at PlayStation Home now available

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Explore Diagon Alley on Pottermore at PlayStation Home.

As previously reported, through the partnership between Sony and Pottermore, Pottermore would be available on PlayStation Home, PlayStation® 3’s “free virtual 3D gaming platform.” Today the Pottermore Insider announced that the interactive online experience is now available to play at PlayStation Home.

From the Insider post:

We’re very excited to announce that Pottermore at PlayStation Home is now available, so you can step inside Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express as your own customisable avatar.

You will also be able to enjoy four exclusive mini-games. Aboard the Hogwarts Express, approach the shady looking character at the end of the train carriage to take part in an illicit Wizard’s Duel.

Enter into one of the compartments and challenge your friends to a Pottermore quiz to test your knowledge.

As well as this, you can collect and share Pottermore Trading Cards throughout Pottermore at PlayStation Home, and round up enchanted books in the Book Herding mini-game.

You can see pictures of all these in action and a trailer for the game on the Insider.

Pottermore also reiterated what they said in their announcement post, in that they have two separate teams working on the experience for PlayStation Home and the online experience at Pottermore.com. They also discussed the future of the game by saying, “This experience will evolve over time to include more locations, new purchasable items and additional mini-games. As usual, you’ll be the first to know about any updates here on the Insider.

Will you be using Pottermore on PlayStation Home? Have you tried it out already today? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Press Release: Pottermore Extends into Social Gaming Platform Playstation Home

The following is the press release announcing the extension of Pottermore into the social gaming platform Playstation Home.

POTTERMORE EXTENDS INTO SOCIAL GAMING PLATFORM PLAYSTATION®HOME

Pottermore from J.K. Rowling is delighted to announce a new way to experience more from the world of Harry Potter™, in the shape of Pottermore at PlayStation Home – Sony’s unique online gaming community for PlayStation 3. Pottermore’s latest innovation enables fans to step inside some of the most well-known locations from the Harry Potter stories and explore them as an avatar.

The first release of Pottermore at PlayStation Home, in April, will enable users to actually step inside Diagon Alley™ and board the Hogwarts™ Express. In these environments, they can experience the mayhem of Book Herding, test their knowledge with a Pottermore quiz, share and collect Pottermore Trading Cards, and take part in an illicit Wizard’s Duel in a re-working of the popular Pottermore.com mini-game. To immerse their avatar even more in the experience, users can purchase a companion from a choice of 14 owls, cats and toads, and shop for outfits from house robes to more casual wizard attire. For those who wish to link their Pottermore.com account with their PlayStation Network ID, additional interactive content and spaces will be accessible.

Pottermore and the development team at Sony have worked incredibly closely on this latest collaboration to ensure that the beautifully illustrated Moments on Pottermore.com were authentically transitioned into the virtual 3D gaming platform.

Charlie Redmayne, CEO of Pottermore comments: “Pottermore reaches across multiple digital platforms, and Sony’s partnership has allowed us to forge this exciting connection with PlayStation Home, creating the most immersive experience possible within that space and giving users wonderful new ways to explore locations from the Harry Potter stories. Following the successful launch of Wonderbook: Book of Spells, this is another example of the creative collaborations Pottermore is developing to bring the world of Harry Potter even more ingeniously to life.”

The Pottermore Insider has also released a trailer for the game. You can view it here. Read the full Insider announcement here.

Charlie Redmayne appears at the FutureBook Conference

Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne (above) spoke at the FutureBook Conference today

Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne (above) spoke at the FutureBook Conference today

As previously reported, earlier today Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne appeared at the 2012 FutureBook Conference in London.

Redmayne was a keynote speaker at the event and was there to discuss building brands and harnessing fan bases, something he believes publishers aren’t understanding. With this he discussed the ever-changing digital publishing industry and again talked about expanding Pottermore onto other platforms. Apparently he did rather well, as at least two users on Twitter praised him as the best speaker there.

Unfortunately Pottermore News was not present at the event, but we’ve been able to learn a lot from his speech from people at the event on Twitter. Here’s what we have gathered:

  • Pottermore will soon launch a collection of apps, a channel on YouTube and an inflight experience (Thanks Twitter user Laura Austin)
  • Redmayne: “Brand development is a proactive, strategic, planned undertaking. Not a two-week blitz each time a book comes out.” – This is definitely something we saw with Chamber of Secrets release
  • The new skill sets for digital book publishing are product development and marketing
  • Redmayne: Marketing needs to be focussed on building brands
  • Redmayne thinks that games, films, and e-books rights holders should work together to create multiplatform stories and ‘solutions’ that customers will buy – an act that is pioneered by Pottermore.
  • He believes Google will become a serious player in the e-book market in the future
  • Redmayne thinks publishers are better off now than they were three years ago
  • “Publishers need to step up and own creativity…” – Charlie Redmayne
  • ‘Digital opportunity is not just about ebooks – publishers need to drive creativity around storytelling.’ – Charlie Redmayne
  • Pottermore is not an e-book sales business, these only represent less than 40% of revenue as a business – the rest comes from apps, film, etc. – Interesting considering there is no Pottermore app…
  • According to Redmayne, Amazon ‘completely got it’ when Pottermore came to them with when it came to only offering e-books through Pottermore
  • Consumers are getting tired of being tied to “ecosystems” – they want their books everywhere Charlie Redmayne
  • Making content available on the platforms customers want is what reduces piracy.
  • Redmayne thinks that many brands and authors that can utilize what Pottermore has done, particularly seeing digital as more than ebooks

*Please note that all of these come from Twitter and most statements are paraphrasing what Redmayne actually said. We can assure you that our information comes from reliable sources.

Gryffindor House to receive downloadable artwork of their common room

Pottermore has announced that Gryffindor House will be receiving downloadable artwork of their common room as a prize for winning the House Cup.

They announced the prize in an Insider post:

It’s been a spirited competition, with much brewing and duelling but we would like to congratulate Gryffindor as the victor of the Pottermore House Cup for November, 2012.

Commiserations to Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but your chance to make the Pottermore House Cup yours will come again – the house points have already been reset for the next contest in the Great Hall.

As a reward for winning the Pottermore House Cup, Gryffindor will be able to download beautiful artwork of their common room as wallpapers and screensavers for their electronic devices.

Members of Gryffindor house, keep an eye out on your owl notifications for further details when these become available, they should be arriving soon.

Until the next Pottermore House Cup, we wish everyone good luck and keep up the great work on your potions and spells.

This prize will come as a surprise for many, as no one expected artwork to be the prize of winning the House Cup. A lot of people thought it would be new Prisoner of Azkaban chapters, and I for one thought it would be the upcoming Games Hub (the last padlock on the top of your Pottermore screen). In the meantime, we can speculate what Prisoner of Azkaban and the Games Hub will include.

All Gryffindors should keep an eye on their notifications over the next couple of weeks to see if they arrive. Once they are available, we will share them with you on here.

To all of our US readers, Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the time with family and friends and eat lots of turkey! 🙂

A Tale of Two Books: Comparing Chamber of Secrets to Philosopher’s Stone

There are now two books on Pottermore: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We’ve decided to compare the two in a full evaluation – taking into account the content, enhancements, and artwork. We did this to find out which is the better book, and here are our results.

Content

The difference in the amount of exclusive content by J.K. Rowling in Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets is staggering. The first book boasts 28 exclusive content entries (including book excerpts) in it’s 17 chapters, whilst the second book only has 11 entries in 18 chapters. However, we think Pottermore focused on other things to make sure users didn’t notice the absence.

We noticed that in the chapters without exclusive content entries, there were mini-games such as Aunt Petunia’s Pudding and the Dueling Club for users to play. The first book was driven by it’s content because Pottermore didn’t really have much more to offer. When the second book came around, we’re thinking the Pottermore Team decided to focus more on animation and games and less on content.

We also found that there only appeared to be the same amount of content because the chapters were released in installments. When going by installment, there seems to be a fair amount in each one. It definitely made us believe the amount was equal, but it clearly isn’t.

Verdict: Even though Chamber of Secrets offers fascinating backstory on the Malfoys, the Chamber of Secrets, and Purebloods, we felt that the new writing in the first book interested us more.

Enhancements (Sounds, Games, Animation)

With Chamber of Secrets, Pottermore introduced a new feature – mini-games. Whether you loved them or hated them, you have to admit they were amazing. Games were definitely something users wanted, and in this case Pottermore listened (and did a fair good job of listening).

Not only the games, but some of the animation in the Moments is absolutely awesome (as in the literall term, not slang). It is most notable in some of the later chapters, specifically chapters 16, 17 and 18. You can’t beat the graphics in the Basilisk scene, or in the Moment in which Harry destroys the diary. The latter though did have us yearning for more.

Verdict: We think it’s pretty clear that Chamber of Secrets came out on top in terms of animation and games. The first book can’t even compare, simply because the animation just isn’t there. The graphics were bad and glitchy. Chamber of Secrets was a huge improvement in this category.

Artwork

The animation in Chamber of Secrets was an improvement from the first book, and the artwork is no different. When we first explored the second book, it was one of the first things we noticed. The artwork changed a lot.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the artwork was more of a painting. That’s not to say it wasn’t beautiful – it for sure was – but the artwork was more of a book illustration than anything. It seems that the illustration aspect was changed in Chamber of Secrets.

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Pottermore team seemed to have found the right mixture, as the artwork is a major improvement. In book two, the artwork is more clearer and realistic, almost like a computer graphic. The artwork in the last chapters worked very well because of the combination between art and animation.

Specifically in the second installment, we saw a perfect medium between old and new. These Moments had a fresher look to them while still keeping the aspects of the traditional artwork in book one. A great example of this is in Chapter 8, Moment 1, Nearly Headless Nick’s Party. It is one of the best Moments on Pottermore because of it’s stunning artwork.

Verdict: Overall, the artwork in book two beats the artwork in book one by a long shot. Kudos to Atomhawk Design (Pottermore artwork design team) for the great work!

Overall

There was a lot to take into consideration within those categories – graphics & animation, artwork, and content. Each book has its good parts and bad parts. There is no real clear winner here.

As we said above, the first book is content driven, and the second is more focused on graphics and animation. It was a risky decision, but Pottermore definitely succeeded. In our opinion, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the better book. There was a lot of pressure on the Pottermore team because the public expected the second book to have some major improvements, but Pottermore delivered. Now the pressure is on for Prisoner of Azkaban.

>>>Watch our Tumblr site this week as we break down Chamber of Secrets. We’ll be rating the content and games, naming our top moments, and a whole lot more. Stay tuned!

Pottermore announces second House Cup award date

Pottermore has announced that the second Pottermore House Cup will be awarded Wednesday, November 21.

They announced the House Cup in a post on the Pottermore Insider.

We’re pleased to reveal that the next Pottermore House Cup will be awarded on Wednesday, November 21st.

Help your house to victory by brewing potions found in Arsenius Jigger’s Magical Drafts and Potions and by challenging members of other houses to a duel.

Along with the House Cup, Pottermore announced that they will be kicking off the House Cup celebrations with House Pride Week, commencing next week. If you don’t know, during House Pride Week Pottermore invites its Twitter followers and Facebook fans to send prideful messages about their Hogwarts House.

From the Insider post:

To kick things off we’re starting our house pride week on Monday November 12th with a day dedicated to each of the four houses.

You’ll be able to take part in daily house polls, rouse your house with spirited messages and possibly get retweeted by us on Twitter.

Our house pride week will start off with Hufflepuff on Monday, followed by Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Gryffindor, so get ready to cheer for your houses!

When they first announced the second House Cup in September, Pottermore said that the prize for winning the House Cup will not be Prisoner of Azkaban. Since then, users have been speculating that the prize could be anything from Wizards Chess to Quidditch. The most predicted is a combination of the two – a Games Hub full of new and old games for users to play. We’ll have to wait and see what the true prize is whenever it is announced!

So, Get ready for a fun-filled two weeks! Odds are that Slytherin will this House Cup, but Gryffindor could take the lead. What we do know is that this will be a very close competition indeed.

Let the brewing and dueling ensue!