President of Sony Explains How J.K. Rowling Developed the Idea for ‘Book of Spells’
Sony and J.K. Rowling’s Book of Spells, a new Playstation 3 game employing Wonderbook and new material from the Potter author, made its debut last week at E3.
Now Sony’s President is explaining some interesting behind the scenes details, like how they teamed up with Rowling.
From The Financial Times:
Sony’s London Studio has been innovative in the past with peripherals like the EyeToy camera, what led to the Wonderbook?
I think it was a natural progression, initially from EyeToy and then they built up some considerable strength in Augmented Reality – you may remember EyePet and Invizimals, which were really nice kid-friendly franchises that took full advantage of AR technology, and then it was a natural step to say: what if we combined that idea with some form of physical peripheral? And the intuition was that the most natural interface that we all know is a book.
At the same time, we had the partnership with [J.K. Rowling’s] Pottermore [online property], something I was involved with personally. It was a form of serendipity, we built a good relationship with Michael Denny who runs Sony’s UK studios and was looking for ways to extend the partnership and he said they’d got this rather nascent idea around books and reading and the use of AR.
The next step was to bring it to the attention of J.K. Rowling and she became very enthusiastic. She was marvellous in guiding us in a certain direction. Her view was that text is important and and that informed Book of Spells, we wanted to have this really interesting interaction with text itself so you’re getting children to enjoy the reading experience and getting something magical out of that.
It seems that the reading aspect was what made Rowling so “enthusiastic” about this project, but we’re still not convinced that there’s much reading involved with the game. I really don’t know if releasing new material in this format will be successful. I’m of the opinion that this is a complete money grabbing attempt by Sony who is requiring you to buy far too many expensive gadgets just to read the spell book.
You can watch Sony’s initial announcement at this link, which included a live demo.