Wonderbook: Book of Spells: A Way For Sony to Earn a Quick Buck, or Something Wonderful?

by Caelin

Abstract: This essay is about the recent announcement of Sony’s Wonderbook: Book of Spells, for the PlayStation 3, and whether it’s all that it’s cracked up to be. I talk about different things that J.K. Rowling announced, that may prove my point, and my opinions about what we know about the Book of Spells, so far. I personally don’t believe the Book of Spells is going to be an amazing thing, but that’s for the readers to decide. I prove my point by talking about the practicality of it only being available for the PlayStation 3 and the fact that Sony has not been the most reliable contributor to the “Harry Potter” fandom.

Sony’s new Wonderbook: Book of Spells probably sounded pretty incredible at first for most, but anyone who gave it a second thought may think otherwise. The question at hand here: is Sony trying to make money off of fans, or is the Book of Spells going to be a great way to learn new information about the spells and the world that Jo created?

Well, how can one be sure? Let’s look at the facts: JKR stated that she would write a Harry Potter encyclopedia and that all royalties would go to charity. Everyone got excited. Then not long after, Jo said that she enjoyed putting all of the information about the wizarding world on Pottermore for free, so she no longer had plans for an encyclopedia. Next, Sony announced the Wonderbook. Although it is going to be a digital thing for the PlayStation 3 only, there is still a book involved, and this means that not all of the information will be on Pottermore. Quite a few contradictions here, eh? Hmmm…

What are Sony’s intentions with the Wonderbook? Why were they not happy with just putting all of the information on Pottermore, for fans to enjoy for free? Or did Jo come up with this? Call me crazy, but I doubt that Ms. Rowling had a change of heart so quickly. Is Sony manipulating her for money?

Well, first of all, I may have a PlayStation 3, but a lot of fans may prefer other gaming systems, or just aren’t able to afford one right now. Is Sony trying to promote their products with the Wonderbook? Well, any fan that desperately wants to learn more about Harry’s world will want to buy this Wonderbook.

Okay, so fans that don’t have a PlayStation 3 already have to either buy one for hundreds of dollars or just not learn about the spells…? How is that right? I am probably correct in assuming that the sales of the PlayStation 3 will escalate just prior to the Wonderbook’s release, and after.

That may not seem to be such a huge problem, but ponder this: how often will we use the Book of Spells? My guess is, not enough. The Book of Spells almost seems to be aimed towards children, even though it’s the ones that grew up with Harry who want to know all of Jo’s information, not young kids.

Also, we have school and jobs. How often will we really sit around the television, when our lives are on the go? The great thing about a book, or even Pottermore, is we can use them outside of our homes. You can take a book anywhere, and read it on your break or on a plane. And you can take a laptop anywhere that there’s wifi, and explore Pottermore. However, you can’t exactly take a PlayStation 3 to work, or to school, or in a moving vehicle. It’s not really practical for anyone. You could argue that all video games are that way, but you can buy any Harry Potter game for a Nintendo DS, and bring it with you virtually anywhere. But not the Wonderbook.

You may also be thinking, well, it would be great for the summertime, but would it really? In the summer, you do all sorts of things you don’t get to do during the year, maybe because of the weather, or because of your job or your school. Do you really want to spend June through August playing with Book of Spells, when you could be doing virtually anything else? I’m sorry if this offends you, but I certainly don’t want friends who won’t do anything with me, because they are too busy sitting on their living room floor to be bothered with me.

Even if you manage to find the time to do everything the Book of Spells has to offer, what next? Do you really think it’ll be like Lego Harry Potter, and that you’ll want to play it over, and over? I have a funny feeling the answer to that is, no. People will most likely go through it once, or possibly even twice, and then it will sit in their house forevermore, only touched again to trash it when the next bit of technology comes out.

You buy this expensive game system, this expensive equipment, this game, and this book, only to use it a handful of times? Something about that seems strange to me. If Sony and J.K. Rowling wanted to find a successful way to deliver new information outside of Pottermore, why not try to come up with something people will want to use over and over? To me, this all screams: “We’re Sony, and we want your money!”

Maybe I just have a biased opinion about Sony, but then again, don’t we all? Sony was very unreliable with Pottermore, what with release dates being postponed, the site constantly crashing, and book two still not being released, after all this time? Sony just seems to disappoint Harry Potter fans. But who really knows? Is the Book of Spells all that it’s cracked up to be? We’ll just have to wait and see…