Note: This piece is in response to Andrew’s opinion article last night.
After having watched Sony’s E3 presentation, and read the many comments on the Book of Spells articles on here, I’ve decided to argue in favor of Sony. Please, save your wrath for the end.
I don’t think it is fair to hate on Sony or Rowling for this announcement. Frankly, I was quite impressed to see a completely original idea from Sony. Lately, I feel like Sony and Microsoft have just been carbon copies of Nintendo. Wait, I take that back, they added cameras! But really, I never would have imagined using the Playstation’s Eye Camera to make books and stories come to life. Yes, it is aimed at kids and families with young children, but as a young adult I was still impressed with the announcement.
And even as a young adult, I would be thrilled to play Book of Spells. Rowling said it herself when she said the game “is the closest a Muggle can come to a real spellbook.” I don’t have the Move system or the Wonderbook (obviously) but count me in! If they come out with a bundle package, I’d defiantly consider it. But that’s just me. I’ve seen many fans putting their opinions against it out there tonight, including a whole article about it just an hour after the conference finished.
The two main arguments I’ve seen are: “Why not just put out a real Encyclopedia?” and “It’s not fair to people that don’t have a PS3, it’s too exclusive.”
Let’s take a look at that first argument. First off, I think people are upset because when we heard Rowling was working on new content, and Bloomsbury disappointed us when we found out they were relying on already published material for a revenue boost. No one said anything about a Harry Potter Encyclopedia, and there is no reason to connect Book of spells to an Encyclopedia. Sure, it will have some new content, but that will happen with any new Potter product.
Which brings me to the second argument. Yes, only people with all the proper equipment will be able to play this new game, but why is that any different than any other Potter product? Take Pottermore. I have friends who still don’t have internet where they live, they can’t access it. Does that mean Pottermore is ruining Harry Potter? How about The Wizarding World in Orlando? Millions of Potter fans don’t have the money or access to go there and taste the park-exclusive Butterbeer. Does that mean Universal is ruining Harry Potter? There’s no way I’ll be able to go see the Harry Potter Studio Tour in England until I have a lot of disposable income. Does that mean WB is ruining Harry Potter?
All those things are exclusive, and that’s what makes them special. What we don’t have access to, we find ways to access, such as the Harry Potter wikia or one of the many fan websites. Personally, I think it’s a bit drastic to say Sony is ruining Harry Potter, or that we should be disappointed in them or Rowling. There will always be something exclusive that everyone is longing for.
I understand the price of all the equipment needed for Book of Spells is a lot of money, I really do. But if it all only cost $20 or $30, like a new book would, I’m willing to bet there’d be a lot less complaining and more praising. Let’s not be so hasty to hate just because this content will cost us money. Anyone seen the price for a ticket to Islands of Adventure where The Wizarding World is located lately? It’s not cheap either, but we hail Universal for their wonderful experience. How about we give Sony a chance?