["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Andrew: Because Eric needs to keep his clothes on, this is MuggleCast Episode 254 for June 9th, 2012.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week's podcast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 254. It is another exciting episode, we have some good stuff to talk about this week. One thing, actually, we forgot to bring up on the last episode - which was kind of embarrassing, it completely slipped our minds and yet it was pretty big news. So...
Eric: Pretty big. Big for Japan, kind of like Godzilla.
Andrew: It's out of this country.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: Not Selina's country - well, yeah, I guess it is.
Selina: It's still my country. Not all of the countries are my country.
[Micah and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Wait, which story are we talking about? Tokyo? Wizarding World Tokyo?
Eric: Now I'm confused. That's what I thought about.
Andrew: Yeah, that's what I thought about until Micah said, "Selina's country," but Selina is not in...
Selina: Yeah, there's going to be a Wizarding World in Denmark, that's the big news.
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Selina: No, yeah, Sweden. Whatever. [laughs] It's not going to be there.
Eric: Wherever it is that Selina may or may not be from.
Micah: See, look, the good thing about always pretending that you're from somewhere else is that listeners of the show can never track you down accurately.
Selina: Exactly, yes.
Andrew: Right. [laughs]
Eric: Except I have you on foursquare. [laughs]
Andrew: And with podcasting - the type of podcasting we do, it's only audio, so you could pretend I'm a woman or...
Selina: Yeah. You're not? [laughs]
Andrew: ...I'm six foot five. Nobody would know the truth.
Eric: Speaking of the show being only audio, is it weird that I always brush my teeth before we record a podcast?
Andrew: Do you really?
Selina: I appreciate this.
Eric: It's a courtesy to you guys, basically.
Andrew: Well, I was going to say, maybe that's a good idea because your mouth is clear, so when you're speaking it's free of any particles that may get in the way of your voice.
Eric: This episode of MuggleCast is minty fresh.
Micah: Is brought to you by Crest.
Andrew: Okay, well, we will get to the news in a moment. From Hypable.com, I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: From MuggleNet.com, I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: From MuggleNet.com, I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Selina: And from Hypable.com, I'm Selina Wilken.
Andrew: All right, Micah, actually do your job this week. Don't skip any important news items.
Andrew: Tell us what is going on in the news. Actually, start with what we missed last week, and then we'll get to the rest.
Micah: Last month is more like it.
Eric: Several weeks ago.
Andrew: Time flies.
Micah: Yeah, this story actually broke at the beginning of May, and...
Eric: [laughs] Wow!
Andrew: [laughs] Wow! Wow!
Eric: We don't need any listeners' help making us look bad, you know?
Andrew: Yeah. I had no idea it had been that long at this point.
Eric: Didn't it happen the night before we recorded the last episode and we just forgot to sneak it in?
Andrew: Yeah. It was really soon, too.
Micah: See, the problem is that WB is just opening up so many theme parks that the next one and the next one just - they all run together.
Micah: It doesn't matter. It's not any big news, is it? Okay, well, I guess it is because it's the first international Harry Potter...
Micah: ...theme park that's opening up in Osaka, Japan, and it's slated to open in 2014. This was reported, like I said, at the beginning of May by the Los Angeles Times and later confirmed in a press release by Warner Bros. So...
Eric: Osaka, Japan.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, I think - I guess the first question is was this the right place for - even though this is the third park announced, this is technically the second park opening because the funny thing is it's opening up before Wizarding World Hollywood.
Andrew: Yeah. And that apparently is because at Wizarding World Hollywood they don't have as much room to work with, so they have to clear a good amount of space first.
Andrew: And that's going to add construction time.
Eric: Demolition first and then construction. Yeah, I got you.
Andrew: And they haven't even started yet, despite the fact that it was announced in what, February? So...
Eric: Oh, really? They haven't started yet?
Andrew: Well, because - we will talk about this story in a minute, but it's actually going to be replacing the Gibson Amphitheater. They're knocking that out.
Eric: Oh yeah, I saw those tweets at the MTV Movie Awards... [laughs]
Eric: ...about that.
Selina: I think it's a good thing that they're bringing something like this to Japan, because - I mean, the U.K. already has the - I mean, it's not the same thing but we already have the studio tour, and Asia needs something like that as well for the Asian fans that have to travel all the way to the U.S. I just feel like Australia should get something soon. They never get anything.
Eric: [laughs] Well, speaking of that, Selina, Australia had the exhibition...
Selina: That's true.
Eric: ...which is now in Singapore. So that's - fortunately that's making its way west. I know the first four stops were in North America, so again, a lot of people were upset. "Give us some international love..."
Eric: ...that kind of thing. So now with the theme park opening in Japan, it's more of a permanent fixture. I don't know, I think it would be cool. But I've never been to Japan, so it might be a good reason to go.
Selina: It will be really popular, I think.
Eric: Yeah, it'll be totally popular. I wonder how many rides they'll have. I wonder how they're going to design it.
Selina: That's a good question.
Eric: Considering we know how the Florida park is laid out.
Andrew: I think they said it's going to have the same attractions.
Andrew: I mean, it could be laid out a bit differently, but I have to think that all these parks are probably going to be even laid out the same because when you walk through the grand entrance, you get that kind of perfect view of Hogsmeade and the castle in the background. It's just like a really picture perfect kind of setting, so I think they would want to keep that for all of the parks. I imagine these are all going to look pretty similar.
Eric: I think you're right. Sorry, go ahead, Selina.
Selina: No, I was just going to say the question is if they're going to try to make this one British as well, because I know - doesn't the Orlando one - don't they try to do British accents?
Selina: So are they going to try to make it an English-speaking park?
Selina: Or is it - do you think it's...
Andrew: Well, the characters are British. Not all of the employees, but the Hogwarts conductor speaks in a British accent and he acts like a wizard. He doesn't know anything about wizard technology - or Muggle technology. And the people who do the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang shows, they have British accents. But the rest...
Selina: Which is funny because they're supposed to be French.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Right. Or maybe they speak - no, they do speak with a - no, they don't speak at all.
Eric: [laughs] They just dance.
Andrew: The Hogwarts students do.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Eric: Yeah. Well, the interesting thing is no matter how many times I go to the theme park I love it. But seeing that Tokyo, or thinking about Orlando - or sorry, California, Hollywood being laid out the same, I don't like that as much as an idea. Because no matter how awesome Orlando is, and it's totally the greatest thing for us as Harry Potter fans, as soon as that park opened I could have pointed out ten or fifteen things I would rather see or do on the next one.
Eric: And I'm sure I'm not the only fan there. But the fact that you can only explore Hogwarts as part of the line of the Forbidden Journey ride, no, I would open up a courtyard or something. I'd have you climb that mountain, go up a little bit more, something like that. Just as a sightseeing thing, having more areas not necessarily to shop, but just to hang out with even different views. I would just install that on my next park. I'm not saying they need to edit what's already there, but if you're talking about expanding, building more parks around the world, why wouldn't you add a little touch of something that's different?
Selina: Yeah, we don't want ten clone parks.
Andrew: Yeah, that is kind of boring. So...
Micah: Well, one of the questions to ask though is would the expansions that are being made in Orlando be included in what's opening up in Japan, or is it just going to be the basic park that we've already experienced down in Florida?
Eric: I have a hard time believing the landscape is exactly the same. I mean, unless there is a Universal Studios Osaka with an Islands of Adventure Osaka, I don't...
[Micah and Selina laugh]
Eric: I see what you're saying with - you know what I'm saying.
Andrew: There's not...
Eric: Will Diagon Alley open up into the theme park or what are they going to do? It's a good question.
Andrew: I don't think it will be the expansion that Orlando is going - you're not going to see any parts of the expansion that Orlando is getting, because I think they still want Orlando to kind of be the supreme location.
Eric: More so than Hollywood?
Andrew: Yeah. Well, they're - I mean, there's definitely not going to be room there to do it, because - well, I mean first of all, they've already said it's going to be just like the one in Orlando. They didn't even hint at any relation to the expansion. But yeah, I just - I don't think that's going to happen.
Selina: I really want to go to one of these parks.
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Eric: Oh, you've never been?
Eric: I wonder...
Micah: Get one in Sweden!
Selina: Yeah, why not? [laughs]
Andrew: Or the U.K. What could be next, though? I mean, because you have to think eventually - I think they said in the Japan article, L.A. Times or somebody interviewed somebody in Universal and they said, "Well, we have three now. Now we're definitely not thinking about other places to put it."
Andrew: For now. But what could be next? I mean, I would have to think U.K. The U.K. would have to be a priority now that they're looking at a fourth park.
Eric: Hmm. Maybe Australia?
Eric: Like somebody said. Just because it's a big - it's its own continent. What was I going to say? I think they're going to start franchising out, to be honest, like Starbucks or 7-Eleven.
[Micah and Selina laugh]
Andrew: I hope not.
Eric: I'll be able to open one in my backyard.
Selina: There'll be one on every corner.
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Eric: My little patch of grass, I wonder what ride we can put there. But I'll have to think about it. But yeah, I just hope that they keep - I don't know, are more parks a good thing or a bad thing? If there are - so there are going to be three in the world, does that detract from the value? Or what if there are four? What if there are five?
Selina: I mean, there are three Disneylands - or Disney Worlds. There's one in...
Eric: Oh, there are, aren't there?
Selina: Two in America, one in France.
Andrew: And Tokyo.
Eric: And there's one in Tokyo?
Selina: I've only ever been to the French one.
Andrew: In Japan. There's a Disney...
Selina: Oh, were there? Okay.
Andrew: ...in Japan. Yeah.
Selina: And there's...
Andrew: There may be a fifth.
Selina: ...Legolands everywhere as well.
Selina: The first one was in Denmark. Woo! Anyway...
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: I think they're all going to be...
Micah: But you live in Sweden. [laughs]
Andrew: I think they're all going to be pretty special. I just think - and I think it doesn't hurt any of the other parks. I think the only two that are - may kind of hurt each other are, of course, Orlando and Hollywood.
Andrew: Because they're in the same country.
Eric: Well, now I think...
Micah: Well, they're on different coasts.
Eric: Yeah, now that I think about it...
Andrew: They're in different coasts, but let's say you live in Seattle, you're like, "Oh, I really want to go to Wizarding World." And if Hollywood didn't exist, you would absolutely be going to Orlando. You wouldn't be sitting there saying, "Oh, I'm just going to wait for Hollywood to open."
Andrew: Before it being announced, of course.
Micah: But one of the things, though, is that Orlando is sort of the resort mecca of the world, right? In terms of theme parks and other things like that.
Micah: So maybe you do go to Orlando. I was just looking at the list here. We mentioned Hollywood, we mentioned Orlando, we mentioned Japan. Funny enough, the other location where there is a Universal Studios [laughs] is in Singapore where the Exhibition is right now.
Micah: So that could be another future option for The Wizarding World. Taking a look now at the franchises - but that has actually nothing to do with the theme parks, that is more to do with the movies, so...
Andrew: I've been thinking about the expansion a lot because I'm really excited about it, and I realized that the reason they're keeping it quiet for so long - I mean, come on. All of Jaws is knocked out at this point, it's just dirt.
Andrew: They have to start building vertically really soon, it can't be far off. I think they are doing it because they feel that as soon as they announce it, that's going to hurt ticket sales for newcomers. Because everybody's going to want to wait until the expansion opens up. Let's say I have a family with three kids and I'm sitting here right now thinking I want to take them to The Wizarding World for the first time. If I heard there's going to be an expansion, if I read this news article about this new expansion coming in, let's say, 2015, I'm going to wait until 2015 for the expansion to open up.
Andrew: So I think Universal is keeping it quiet for as long as they possibly can, and then they are going to announce it, because they don't want to hurt ticket sales.
Andrew: I just wanted to point that out. That may be kind of obvious, but I just wanted to point it out.
Micah: But would you really wait three years?
Andrew: Yeah, definitely. A family with kids? They want to get their money's worth. If they're big Harry Potter fans...
Eric: Yeah, I get that.
Andrew: People do! I have people asking me - or people asking my mom, and then she asks me.
Andrew: "When is the expansion opening up? They want to wait until the expansion."
Andrew: I was like, "I don't know, sorry!"
Eric: Yeah. And the existing park is great, let's not cast a negative light on it, but I can see exactly what you're saying. I mean, people wanting to wait until the newest thing is up. Because if there's going to be a crowd, if there's going to be all this money that you spend taking your family...
Eric: ...to the park...
Andrew: Right, it's thousands of dollars!
Eric: Yeah, it is these days to travel with a family. So I see how that makes sense, and I see how that would sway the decision. I mean, we already know there will be an expansion. I guess what you're saying is just the details surrounding it.
Eric: Like how many rides, etc. will be added.
Andrew: And when it's going to open, and - right, what rides, what's this going to entail. All they have said - literally they have said, like, five words about it, that yes, they are planning an expansion but no time frame.
Eric: That's exciting.
Andrew: But to wrap up this - yeah, it is. To wrap up this portion, I just want to say that it will be interesting to see the Tokyo park be built - or sorry, the Japan park be built - because there are lots of questions. Like Eric said, will it be laid out the same, or what differences will there be? So it will be very interesting, I'm looking forward to seeing the construction photos and whatnot.
Micah: Yeah, I'm interested also in the differences. I think there has to be something that makes each of these parks unique from the other, because there are going to be people who are going to travel and want to go to all of them if they can.
Andrew: Mhm. That's true, that's a good point. Yeah, we haven't even seen concept art for these other parks. [laughs]
Eric: Maybe they're just using the same concept art. [laughs]
Selina: Yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: I guess so. Because I remember when they announced The Wizarding World: Orlando, that was a huge announcement.
Selina: So many sketches and stuff, yeah.
Eric: The concept art for that was amazing.
Eric: It was absolutely amazing. I still sometimes set that one concept art as my desktop. It's got the family in front, and they go up the hill and there's Hogwarts.
Andrew: Yeah, that is cool.
Eric: It's cool.
Andrew: Okay, we're going to continue with the news in a moment, but first we need to remind you that today's podcast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. Here's a book perfect for the summertime: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. This is Oprah's first selection for her brand new book club called Oprah's Book Club 2.0, just launched a couple of weeks ago. Wild is a powerful, blazingly honest memoir, the story of an 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again. I'm actually going on a road trip in a couple of weeks. I cannot wait to listen to this, I have a good feeling about this one. Oprah picked it so it must be great, and I have a feeling I'm going to be listening to this all the way across the country as I drive. So for a free audiobook of your choice such as Wild, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. That's AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast and we thank Audible for their support of the show.
Andrew: What else is going on in the news?
Micah: On the last episode, we read this quote from J.K. Rowling's new website at the time, and it said:
"For a long time I have been promising an encyclopedia of Harry's world, and I have started work on this now - some of it forms the new content in Pottermore. It is likely to be a time-consuming job, but when finished I shall donate all royalties to charity."
Micah: Now this was a pretty big news story, it broke in other forms of media, not just your average fan site. I mean, newspapers and other media outlets were picking it up, the fact that she was actually going to be writing an encyclopedia, that the proceeds were going to charity. Then, just a couple of weeks later, she updated her website again, and this quote that I just read was removed. In its place was:
"I have been enjoying sharing information about Harry's world on Pottermore for free, and don't have any firm plans to publish it in book form."
Selina: Boo. [laughs]
Andrew: What?! What?!
Micah: So, bit of a flip-flopper.
Eric: What changed?
Selina: That is weird.
Eric: What happened? Micah, you've got to catch that fish in that net. It's flopping around.
Andrew: My theory is that they put out this little blurb, the initial blurb that said, "I am working on this now," and obviously, like you said, Micah, it made national headlines all over the Internet, and I'm sure some television outlets and newspapers reported it, too, because it is big news. And I think they got a little scared. I think they were like, "Well, wait a second, wait a second, do we have firm plans about this? When are we going to release it?" And, as we'll talk about in a bit, J.K. Rowling, in the meantime, has been busy releasing new material in other ways, in the form of Pottermore and a video game that we'll talk about in a little bit. So, I think they may have been afraid to take the attention off of those as well. They want all the focus to be on Pottermore and Book of Spells right now.
Andrew: Not an impending encyclopedia. But it was a big flip-flop.
Selina: It was.
Selina: And it is sort of worrying because I think for most fans, at least - we enjoy Pottermore, we enjoy all these little re-releases of the books we've already read, but we want the encyclopedia.
Selina: At least I do.
Eric: I mean, she better put all that info into Pottermore then. [laughs]
Eric: Double or triple the size per book of content that Pottermore has.
Selina: But it's not the same! Having to click from one thing to another and find a little feather, and it's not...
Eric: I know, and you get cancer because you're sitting in front of your computer for so long. I know, I know.
Eric: It's tough being us.
Selina: Well, I don't know, I just want the tome. I feel like Hermione, I don't know. [laughs]
Eric: I do want the tome. You're right, you're right.
Andrew: I'm saving my thoughts until we get to the video game discussion.
Micah: But if you read the words carefully, it says that she doesn't have any plans to publish what's on Pottermore in book form.
Selina: In book form, yeah. That's true.
Micah: Not that she won't do an encyclopedia. However, she does say in that other quote that some of the content from the encyclopedia that she was considering writing forms the new content in Pottermore. So it's just - it's frustrating, I think, for a lot of people because it did make such big news when that quote was found on her website and really pushed out there through all the major channels. But I wouldn't understand, though, why she would still be hesitant to do this, because she talked about the proceeds benefiting charity.
Eric: The thing is, there are three pages on J.K. Rowling's new site, it feels like. Maybe a hundred words to the whole site. [laughs] And to think that she didn't choose the words that carefully, that she had to go and remove something that was on there, because there's really - they removed everything, there's not a lot on that site. The timeline, I think that's about it. And the fact that they had to remove this and change this - I don't know, I just want to know what's going on. I want to know what her thought process is.
Eric: I want to know more about The Casual Vacancy, and this is just confusing to me all around, now that there are - well, there was going to be an encyclopedia and now there's not?
Selina: She's really embracing these alternative outlets, isn't she? With the e-books and Pottermore and our next news story and all that. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, I think Sony has probably got her in handcuffs right now.
Selina: But surely not!
Selina: I mean, she's J.K. Rowling. She rules the world. [laughs]
Andrew: Well, let's talk about that.
Andrew: Micah, please. I'm going to take a shot while you introduce this.
Micah: I already took three.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Micah: So you need to catch up. But earlier this week it was announced that Sony will publish a new book with Wonderbook technology that was presented at the E3 conference, which is a big video-gaming conference, and it's going to be titled Harry Potter: Book of Spells, an interactive spellbook that will let the reader flip through the pages and learn spells from the magical world of Harry Potter.
Andrew: Hold on, you know what's weird so far about this too? It's not even called Harry Potter: Book of Spells. Technically, it's called Wonderbook: Book of Spells.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: For some reason they don't want to include "Harry Potter" in the title of this game. Anyway, go ahead.
Micah: Yeah, I guess that is a little weird.
Selina: Maybe they have some - with the Harry Potter branding, isn't it E-something who's been doing all the Harry Potter games? What is it called?
Andrew: Electronic Arts, EA.
Selina: Electronic Arts. So maybe they have some kind of patent on the name.
Andrew: No, it can't be that. I think it's that Harry Potter is not in the game.
Selina: Right, that makes more sense.
Eric: Hmm. Right, you don't want to promise something that's not...
Eric: Well, the interesting thing - isn't J.K. Rowling writing this game?
Andrew: Yeah. Well, yeah, go ahead, Micah. So tell us more about Book of Spells.
Micah: Sure. Well, while reading the story and seeing it unfold in front of you, you can use a Playstation Move to cast spells. Isn't that exciting?
Micah: So, I'm assuming that a lot of these components that they're talking about for this particular game, you'd have to go out and purchase separately from anything that you would normally get with your Playstation 3.
Andrew: Right. You do not just need your Playstation 3 and the game itself. You need the Playstation 3, the Book of Spells game, the Playstation Move controller, the Playstation Eye - which is a camera - and the Playstation Wonderbook. So you need three Playstation devices, plus the Playstation, plus the game itself.
Selina: Do you guys remember back when Order of the Phoenix game was being released for the Wii and everyone was so excited about the new Wii technology that would allow you...
Selina: ...to use your Wii controller as a wand, and then the game came out...
Selina: ...and you were literally just shaking it...
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Selina: ...every way you could to get the stupid book to fly across the room? I'm sure the technology has moved since then, but I just almost could not get excited about having to move my Playstation whatever it was [laughs] around in a circle. I don't know.
Andrew: Right. Well - and what happens is you lay this book, this new technology - they debuted the Wonderbook at E3, this was the big reveal. And you lay this book on the floor, and your Sony Eye camera is looking at the book on the floor, and so it takes that picture and puts it on your television screen, and then that book laying on the floor magically gets turned into a Harry Potter spellbook. And then you discover spells by practicing them, and you get to learn all this new history, and one example that they provided is how the Wingardium Leviosa spell is discovered. And I thought that was a great idea.
Andrew: I think that's kind of classic J.K. Rowling information you could expect from her, something you would probably expect to see in Pottermore or in the encyclopedia, but nonetheless it's in this video game. And I wrote a piece on Hypable, venting my frustration. I just got so worked up and it was, like, 11 o'clock and this came out of nowhere. 11 o'clock at night and I just started writing it, because I just can't believe that - the other angle to this is that Sony announced this is the latest step in their partnership with J.K. Rowling. And what bothers me most is that J.K. Rowling is now releasing all this information the fans have been craving for for years in the encyclopedia, she's decided to release it via Pottermore and now via Book of Spells, and who knows what else Sony and J.K. Rowling may come up with. And I just feel like it goes against everything that she's sort of been about when all the Harry Potter books were coming out. We always liked Jo because they weren't selling out. You had the books and the movies and you had some merchandise, and that was it. But now there's this whole new level where you're required to buy all this extra stuff, in the case of Book of Spells, to get this new J.K. Rowling material. And I just think it's - I think it's bad, and I feel like Sony has J.K. Rowling tied down in a way that - come on, does she really - did they actually go to her with this and she actually said, "This sounds great, I'm going to release new information through a video game"?
Eric: Through a video game book.
Andrew: I mean - yeah!
Eric: I'm not sold on the book format, to be honest. I need to...
Andrew: Yeah, this is stupid! [laughs]
Eric: I need to read - I need to look at the - I haven't watched all the E3 footage and I haven't watched this Wonderbook promo, but I'm not sold on this book idea. I don't know. It's making books cool, which could be cool.
Andrew: But you're not even reading it like a book! Do you know what I mean? It's just...
Eric: If you're setting the book on the floor and your camera is looking at the floor, I don't know how that's exciting.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Eric: I don't know at what point that got through the approval process. But I'm...
Andrew: It's going to bomb.
Andrew: The Wonderbook technology is going to bomb.
Eric: Maybe this Book of Spells will be what keeps it afloat. I don't know, it could be a really cool game.
Micah: No. It begs the question, though...
Andrew: Well, thank God they have this!
Micah: What age range is it aiming for? Because people our age are not going to buy this.
Selina: That's what I was thinking.
Andrew: Right, that's the other thing. J.K. Rowling...
Eric: People our age are the only ones who can afford it!
Andrew: J.K. Rowling - again, they did it with Pottermore, we had talked about how they've been catering to kids with Pottermore because you couldn't use your real name and all that, and this Book of Spells is another children's thing!
Selina: You know...
Andrew: I don't want to sit there with all my - with 350 dollars worth of PlayStation equipment...
Andrew: ...and be flicking at the screen. I'm sure it's not going to be perfect so it's going to be frustrating to get this stuff to work. [sighs]
Selina: But you know, the thing though with J.K. Rowling over the past few years is that even though she's all about - she clearly must know that we fans have grown up with the series. She is still so intent on appealing to children. I remember a few years ago she came to Denmark to accept the H.C. Andersen Prize, and this is just a random example but she - I went down to see her and I got to see her speak, but then she had this exclusive reading of her books that was only for children aged - I think it was eleven and under. And the interesting thing about that is that they don't speak English in Denmark, so they were not able to understand what she was saying but they were the only ones allowed into her reading. It's just that kind of logic that sort of seems to go through everything that she does these days, that she's so intent on making these things for children, the Wonderbook, Pottermore. But then all this huge background information about the books, that's something that we care about. So it doesn't really correspond, you know?
Eric: I understand that point. I get that point. And like Andrew was saying, with the books, they were available to everyone, and [laughs] if a Harry Potter book isn't published in your language, I don't know where you live, because those books...
Eric: Over time they're available in all the countries, under 37 or more different languages. I don't know where "37" came from, it just...
Selina: Even in Latin. [laughs]
Eric: Even in Latin which hasn't been spoken in, like, 3,000 years. So, anyway, just the idea that you need a Playstation, you need the Move, the Eye, the cam, the book, the Wonderbook - Wonderbra, I almost said.
Andrew: Electricity, television...
Eric: Electricity and television, oh my God! They're so demanding!
Andrew: [laughs] A chair.
Eric: Nothing like candlelight...
Andrew: Some Pepsi.
Eric: Harry Potter - yeah, okay.
Micah: It is contradictory, though, to what she said about the encyclopedia because the quote from that was, "I have been enjoying sharing information about Harry's world on Pottermore for free."
Micah: But you could go out and spend 300 dollars on the PS3.
Eric: Yeah. I don't know, this could be - I want to see more about Book of Spells before I make my final decision, but I think you guys are right. Because even something like Rock Band, where you have an entire set of instruments that comes with a thing - I just find that it sits around, and it takes up a lot of space, it costs a lot of money...
Eric: ...it's a huge investment to get it going. And in the end, I'm not sure it's worth it, because even if - say Book of Spells manages to interest me and I get the Wonderbook. There's really not - I really don't think there is going to be a second Wonderbook game that really interests me. I don't want to be too negative here, but what could the second Wonderbook - I would have to get a lot of books, or a lot of games that are Wonderbook games, in order to justify getting the Wonderbook.
Selina: They could do some kind of Wonder-monster thing, like - I don't know, you have to raise a bunch of monsters in Hagrid's class.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Selina: Learn about them.
Andrew: See, this doesn't - that wouldn't even require the Wonderbook device.
Selina: I know.
Andrew: I mean, this technology is strange.
Eric: Monster Book of Monsters? Here's the thing, that scene in Diagon Alley in Pottermore when you buy all the spellbooks and stuff - because they're in your item or your cart and you need them in your cart before you can progress through a level, I assumed we could at least read a paragraph or two from each of those books, but we can't. There are still so many parts of Pottermore that I wish were more in-depth, you know? More books, details and stuff. I don't see why they're resorting to this format. It could be cool but it could also not be cool, and I just think they should really focus on making Pottermore better. Like, has everybody moved on from - there was that eight or nine month hiatus between 'Pottermore beta opening' Book 1 and then 'public opening' Book 1, and they still haven't gone back or changed much with Book 1. There's still way many ways they can make it better. Why are they moving onto this game with this new technology, with this new stuff? I'm thinking Pottermore still needs some work, guys. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, they're kind of taking away the attention of Pottermore.
Selina: At the same time though, just to sort of play devil's advocate - because we're being really negative, I just realized. [laughs]
Micah: Never. Never on this show are we negative.
Selina: [laughs] Yeah, never. But I guess a good thing, though, could be that even though Harry Potter has ended quite a few years ago now, new things still keep coming out. It's not like Harry Potter is in the past...
Andrew: Yeah, that's true.
Selina: ...and J.K. Rowling has moved on. Even though there's no more books coming out there are theme parks, there are websites, there are games, there are all these different things, and even though it might not be the encyclopedia that we want, I'm sure that it's going - this whole interactive experience is getting new generations involved with Harry Potter...
Selina: ...and that is a positive thing.
Andrew: I still think that an encyclopedia will happen. I just think it's disappointing that we're seeing all this other stuff that includes material which could have been in the encyclopedia being released first.
Selina: Mhm. It's kind of like spoilers, isn't it? Like, spoilers for the encyclopedia?
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, the one saving grace - I could kind of imagine a behind-the-scenes situation happening where J.K. Rowling agreed that Wonderbook: Book of Spells has the exclusive on all this wand information - or this spell information - for, let's say, a year or two. I'm sure Sony - because Sony wanted her to release some brand new stuff to make this more interesting, and she said, "Okay, I'll do it, but this stuff is going to end up in an encyclopedia. But I'll release it in 2015, so you guys have all this information just exclusively in this game for two or three years."
Micah: That's part of what I was going to talk about a little bit before we move on, is that you have to remember Sony is this multibillion dollar corporation that signed a deal with J.K. Rowling for Pottermore, and chances are there was probably something in that agreement that allowed for something like this Book of Spells.
Andrew: Right. They probably had this clause where they could creatively come up with new ideas and work together on the project.
Eric: Fortunately, it doesn't seem like they're just not caring about it. It does seem like - it's at least an original idea. Obviously we'll wait to see how the execution is, but it is a solid idea and for that I think we should give it credit. I guess I'm just feeling what Selina said about it being new content. J.K. Rowling could be like J.D. Salinger and go in a hole for sixty years until her death, and she didn't.
Andrew: That's true.
Eric: She's still out there doing stuff. So, new content from J.K. Rowling, that's a plus. Obviously the exclusivity of that content, how easy it'll be for us to get it, and whether or not we'll like it once we do, is our concerns here, but ultimately I'm glad that at least - if Sony is or has to be doing these things with Harry Potter, at least it's - I don't know, it is kind of a unique idea, and at least they keep trying that stuff.
Andrew: And the reason they - like you said, Micah, I think - Sony is a company, they're here to make money. And they've got to compete with Wii, so this is kind of an original idea to kind of go at Wii. I mean, it's certainly going after the kids, which Wii is so successful with. But I will also say some positives about Book of Spells. First of all, the new material makes it very cool. Second of all, the graphics look fantastic. It looks very - it kind of looks like it's straight out of the movies, all the artwork. In the Wingardium Leviosa history scene, there's this pop-up paper theater that you hold in your hands digitally. You hold up the Wonderbook and it appears on the television screen, and you see the history of Wingardium Leviosa being played out in your hands, basically. So that is cool. I personally just have been hoping for all this to be coming out in an encyclopedia, and to not require people to spend so much money on new J.K. Rowling material. Do as many Harry Potter video games as you want. It's the original material that bothers me.
Eric: Man, with the Playstation Eye, I guess that means I'm going to have to start wearing clothing when I play my games.
Andrew: Well, I don't think it's uploading pictures of you.
Eric: [laughs] No, but I would never trust it, you know what I'm saying? Just hanging around with my Wonderbook in my boxers or whatever, I'm not going to do that.
Andrew: Right. Well, the Playstation Eye may get confused as to which is the controller and which is - well, what else is in the news, Micah?
[Eric and Selina laugh]
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