The next big step for augmented reality? Sony’s Wonderbook for PS3

It’s been two and a half years since I first came across the idea of ‘augmented reality’ (AR) – see Jargonbuster: ‘Augmented reality’ – but I don’t think the concept has become a part of everyday mainstream life. Google Goggles is brilliant and there have been some great uses of QR codes, but AR still hasn’t broken through, in my opinion.

However, I’ve just read about the launch of Wonderbook for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and I think it could be the next big step for AR and its way to becoming a part of everyday consumer life.

How does it work?

You hold the Wonderbook up to the PlayStation eye camera and the scenes and characters from the book appear on the TV screen! Using the PlayStation Move motion controller, you can interact with the book’s world and choose how the plot progresses.

The first book will be a new Harry Potter title, part-written by J K Rowling, called The Book of Spells. The Move controller will appear on screen as a magic wand allowing you to cast spells.

The soundbites

Dave Ranyard, Sony London Studios: “the reinvention of the story book” …”Words, pictures, stories come to life in a way never seen before.”

J K Rowling: “Wonderbook: Book of Spells is the closest a Muggle can come to a real spellbook“.

The announcement was made at the E3 video games trade show in Los Angeles.

A great use of augmented reality combining books, TV screens and video games. As children spend more time on the latter two, it’s good to see innovation like this, which will help to make books interesting and relevant (unless it’s a book full of QR codes, but we don’t know enough about how it works yet). It’s still more screen time for children, but at least there’s some sort of compromise.

From a marketing perspective, Harry Potter was the best choice of brand partner. With a humongous fanbase for the stories, Sony are giving the Wonderbook the best possible launch.

Here are some articles about the launch:

BBC

Forbes

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