Can Sony Bridge the Gap Between BEA & E3

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

Last week at E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo), Sony introduced a brand new offering for its PS3 platform – Wonderbook.

Sony describes Wonderbook as:

“A powerful storytelling vehicle and tool for the imagination, Wonderbook will bring exclusive content in immersive new ways by putting you at the heart of the action, using augmented reality technology to transform the world around you.”

The first title for the new Wonderbook accessory is a collaboration with J.K. Rowling titled Book of Spells.

The early and immediate reactions from E3 have been quite negative – despite being a very unique and engaging product. These reactions, however, shouldn’t have been a surprise. With any foresight, Sony would have launched its new interactive asset play at BEA instead of E3. This would have allowed Sony to bury news of their new web-based ebookstore and ebook app (both long overdue announcements receiving “too little, too late” responses across the board) with something brand new, truly innovative and extremely exciting for a new generation of readers and storytellers.

For readers, storytellers and publishers, Wonderbook could have been heralded as ushering in a new era – a new beginning of deeply immersive storytelling.

Instead, it’s been widely panned simply because the gaming community has little to no interest in books via consoles. It’s critically important to know your audience and on this one, Sony (desperately in need of some buzz and market validation) missed the mark.

This is sad. 

Along with Microsoft’s upcoming XboxLive SmartGlass, solutions like Wonderbook have the opportunity to meaningfully enable storytellers to reach well beyond traditional means and deliver completely new ways of engaging readers of all ages.

Anything that is engaging readers of all ages should be, at a minimum, praised and at best, celebrated. However, by missing the mark with an E3 focus for Wonderbook, Sony has left a great opportunity to open new markets on the table, again.

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