It’s being called the reinvention of the storybook.
At a Monday announcement at the annual video game conference known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Sony Entertainment of America announced J.K. Rowling’s “Wonderbook: Book of Spells,” an interactive spell book that comes alive on PlayStation 3 videogame consoles.
“This takes you on a journey of learning magic, like a student at Howarts,” Sony Computer Entertainment chief Andrew House said at the conference. “Welcome to the reinvention of the storybook.”
Sony’s new “Wonderbook” technology is an augmented reality platform for the Playstation 3 that presents virtual books on screen as stunning pop-up books that readers can interact with.
In “Book of Spells,” readers use a PlayStation Move motion controller as a magic wand to flip through pages of this spellbook written more than 200 years ago by fictional character Miranda Goshawk. Users wave the wand in specific patterns as if they were Hogwarts students as the spellbook teaches them the art of casting magic spells, dueling, making fire, unlocking gates, and more – all as they move through new “pop-up” stories written by Rowling.
“Wonderbook: Book of Spells is the closest a Muggle can come to a real spellbook,” Rowling said in a statement. “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.”
At a demonstration staged at the E3 conference, a “PlayStation Eye camera put students into on-screen scenes that then tested their abilities to set things ablaze or levitate objects in settings reminiscent of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” according to Agence France Presse. The level of detail is impressive: In the demo, a player summoned a dragon that burned the book, reports Forbes, and the player used his hands to wipe soot off the book.
“Book of Spells” will be the first in what is to become a vast virtual library of “Wonderbooks,” according to Sony’s Mr. House.
“We are working with some of the world’s best developers and authors to make a broad library of content,” he said. “Imagine walking with dinosaurs or sailing the seven seas to explore an atlas.”
What book would you like to see come to life in Wonderbooks?
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.