Sony’s Wonderbook

Source: Cnet, Jun 2012

LOS ANGELES–Call it a toy, call it an experience, but I’m not sure you should call it a book. The J.K. Rowling-created “Book of Spells,” the launch title for Sony’s Wonderbook platform announced at E3 2012, was originally touted during the kickoff Sony press conference as being a way to bring reading to life.

The book, when placed on the floor at the proper distance from a PlayStation Eye camera, mirrors the book on your TV, where it animates into a truly stunning experience: the book pages animate with a hand-drawn look that feels very Harry Potter-like, and occasionally large 3D objects emerge from the book’s pages — a pumpkin, a puppet theater (seen above), or even a large hole burrowing into the book’s pages. Picking up the book and turning it around turns the 3D objects on TV; when it works, which it generally did, it was seamless.

This technology isn’t new; card-coded AR games have been around on the PlayStation since Eye of Judgement and EyePet. Wonderbook prints the cards into a bound volume, a clever way of organizing the cards. Sony says that future titles will use the same single Wonderbook, so there’s nothing else to buy.

Waving a PlayStation Move becomes a magic wand onscreen, and up to 20 spells can be cast across a number of lessons, following instructions and small stories that appear onscreen from the pages in the book. Occasionally, mini-games emerge that feel like standard PlayStation Move fare, with motion-controlled wand gaming to cast spells.

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