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Sony launches ‘augmented reality’ title Wonderbook: Book of Spells from Harry Potter author

Sony today launched Wonderbook: Book of Spells, its collaboration with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, for the PlayStation 3. This is one of the first major nongame applications that use the PlayStation 3 and its technology for augmented reality.

The new application is more like an interactive book in which stories come alive. You can control the interactive fiction using a PlayStation Move motion-sensing controller and a PlayStation Eye camera with your PS3. With this, children (or adults) can flick through a physical book, point at something with the motion controller, and then make animated imagery appear on the TV screen. Sony says it makes for much more immersive storytelling, bringing a world of magic to life on-screen.

The PS3 exclusive Wonderbook is from Sony’s London game studio in collaboration with Rowling. It is the first product to come from Sony’s partnership with Pottermore, Rowling’s web site related to the best-selling Harry Potter books. The technology blends both physical products and digital material. Such hybrids are an increasingly popular way to create content that appeals to the digital generation.

“Wonderbook: Book of Spells is the closest a Muggle [nonmagical person] can come to a real spellbook,” Rowling said. “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.”

Book of Spells takes players on a journey about wizardry. You can use the Move controller like a magic wand. Players can practice spells like a student at Hogwarts, the school from the Harry Potter books. Rowling wrote the material to lead players through the experience, providing insight to what makes a successful witch or wizard.

“We’re pleased to partner with J.K. Rowling to capture the magic of one of the most beloved book series of all time in our debut title for Wonderbook,” said Guy Longworth, the senior vice president, PlayStation Brand Marketing, for SCEA. “With the introduction of Wonderbook and titles like Book of Spells, we continue to push the boundaries of interactive entertainment, using augmented reality to deliver a remarkably unique experience that the entire family can enjoy together.”

Other Wonderbook projects coming include Diggs Nightcrawler, a film noir detective story from the Academy Award-winning studio Moonbot, Walking with Dinosaurs from the BBC, and an unannounced title from Disney.


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