E3: J.K. Rowling's Book of Spells Makes the Move a Wand

E3: J.K. Rowling's Book of Spells Makes the Move a Wand


Be like Harry Potter with a new way to experience the world created by J.K. Rowling.

The PlayStation Move has long been the red-headed stepchild of the motion controllers from the big three hardware makers. But Sony is confident they can leverage the augmented reality capability of the PlayStation Eye and the fidelity of the Move controller to offer something unique. And a combination of a new peripheral called the WonderBook, and new material from fantasy author J.K. Rowling - she of Harry Potter fame - might just be that special sauce. Sony promises the WonderBook is a new way to experience stories, and the first title Book of Spells will teach young wizards how to cast some of Harry Potter's famous incantations. You'll be able to try it out this fall.

The WonderBook and Book of Spells "captures the imagination in a way never seen before." The book is bound with blank paper, but using the camera of the PlayStation Eye, the TV will display it in front of you as if it were illuminated with writing and drawings.

Some of that writing will be contributed by J.K. Rowling herself as the Book of Spells will tell some of the humorous or tragic tales behind some common spells such as levitate and the fire-making spell.

The demonstration of four regular people trying to get the augmented reality to work was definitely live, because there were more than a few hiccups. One lady couldn't get the unlock charm to work for what seemed like 5 minutes. Finally though, a door in the WonderBook "opened" and we learned the right incantation for "incendio". In order to cast a spell, you have to move the Move controller in a particular pattern as if it were your wand.

Then a dragon leapt off the page and burned the book. Yeah, it was kinda hokey.

I'm intersted in augmented reality, fantasy and new ways of story-telling, but watching the demo for Book of Spells had me wavering between too very opposite emotions. Cries of "Oooh, neat!" shifted to "Oh jeez..." very quickly. In any case, I will be excited to check out new fiction from Rowling this fall, and see if the WonderBook really is the wonder it sets out to be.

See all our coverage directly from the E3 2012 show floor.


This was unexpected. I'll mimic the guy in the presentation, surprised that it hadn't leaked beforehand. I think it would be cool for kids, but the whole setup of move, eye camera, book, and system would set you back quite a bit, and this isn't even talking software. I can't think of extended core gaming applications, but for little fun stuff and side things, it might be interesting.

I just hope they'll be giving us something interesting to cast those spells AT!

They didn't have something like this already? The "trace this to cast/learn spell" mechanic was in more then a few harry potter games.

so pottermore for the playstation, cool I guess.

I love how they couldn't even get Rowling to say something in front of a camera. Thanks for caring J.K.!

Too little, too late. Some of us have been bringing our little ones (or nieces) to this kind of stuff for years: MagiQuest.

Playboy magazine.... fingers crossed.

Pedro The Hutt:
I love how they couldn't even get Rowling to say something in front of a camera. Thanks for caring J.K.!

It's okay. I hear she's busy doing what she does best.

As a potterhead, I'm actually looking forward to my kid playing this...okay playing with this & my kid...okay telling my kid to go read a real book while daddy plays with it.

Gotta give it to Sony, they finally figured out what kind of game they can do with their Move wand.

Here's my little dose of optimism: the PS3 will remember and encode your experiences from this game into it's hard drive. Then, when you're playing a FPS later, and cast a spell out of imaginative frustration, it suddenly gets played out in your game. Suddenly it's awesome, and everyone must have it.

Yes it breaks immersion. But no one plays modern FPS's for immersion anymore, and it would make this fun little doodad infinitely more relevant.

I feel like, as much as I hate to say it, this would be better implemented with Kinect. You know, go out and buy one of those replica wands (or grab a stick from outside), go purchase the actual book (or get some loose pieces of paper and tape them together) and follow the process without a black and purple dildo controller.

Playboy magazine.... fingers crossed.

I also feel like this would be better implemented with Kinect for the same reasons as above. Because, you know, I'd rather be holding onto my own "controller" instead of the Playstation's.

Didn't they call that Sorcery, and didn't they just release the 'launch' title for the PS3 move?

Also I found 'red-headed' child analogy a little off-putting. It actually works better than the Wii controller and doesn't have the problems of the Kinect games.


This looked quite interesting, the harry potter showcase was pretty good!


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