While Microsoft’s E3 press conference focused largely on new media and SmartGlass, the new second screen technology coming to mobile devices this Fall, Sony stuck to big game announcements and introduced a unique augmented reality reading platform called Wonderbook.
Wonderbook works with Move, PlayStation 3’s motion control device, and the PlayStation Eye camera. Action plays out on the TV screen atop the pages of a real life book, about the same size as a large hardcover children’s book, open in front of the player. Sony hopes to tailor the new product for both families and gamers.
“Imagine sailing the seven seas to explore AnÃ¡polis, walking with dinosaurs, traveling beyond the stars to discover astronomy,” said current president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Andrew House. “We’re working with some of the world’s best known developers and authors to create a diverse library of content including educational and scientific experiences.”
One of those authors is the wildly successful Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, whose Book of Spells will be the first title to be published for Wonderbook. The title will teach players how to perform spells from Harry Potter, pairing them with stories written by Rowling herself that give more incite into everyone’s favorite wizarding world.
“Each chapter teaches a significant value required to become an accomplished wizard,” said Dave Ranyard, creative services manager at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.
The E3 demo showed a paper theater popup, rendered in 3D atop the storybook held in a player’s hand, detailing the discovery of wingardium leviosa, the hovering charm from Harry Potter. The demo went on to show players learning the fire spell incendio, allowing them to shoot fireballs using the PlayStation Move controller, which on-screen appeared to be a wand.
“This is an extraordinary device that offers a reading experience like no other,” said Rowling.
Another title announced for the new platform is Diggs Nightcrawler by interactive storytelling company Moonbot Studios, which won an Oscar this year for its 2011 animated short “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” According to Sony, Wonderbook will be released in the Fall of this year.