News Article

Wonderbook: Book of Spells Failed to Enchant Store Shelves

Posted by Sammy Barker

Harry Potter spin-off could have sold better

Wonderbook: Book of Spells was a fine experiment that failed to cast a charm on as many consumers as Sony expected. Despite a strong marketing push in Europe, SCEUK’s Fergal Gara has admitted that the innovative title “could have sold better”, even though it did “respectively well”.

“I am encouraged that we have more titles coming and it may just take a little longer to get it to settle in consumer’s consciousness,” he said in an interview with MCV. “It was also relatively expensive if you didn’t already have a PlayStation 3 or a Move controller. But I think as people learn it’s about more titles, then that would give it some added momentum.”

Marketing director Murray Pannell added that the game was an important step forward in terms of pointing the PS3 at more mainstream consumers. “From a marketing perspective, Wonderbook was an important step in becoming more family-focused as a platform,” he said. “That is not an easy job to do and can take years to achieve.”

Asked if the casual theme would persist throughout the coming year, Pannell continued: “We don’t want to step away from the good work we have done on Wonderbook. Family, kids, broader consumers, however you want to define it, is somewhere where we want the PlayStation brand.”

The next Wonderbook compatible game is detective title Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler, which is due out in May. Are you still itching for more experiences on the platform or do you think that it’s run its course? Let us know in the comments section below.


Game Screenshots

User Comments (13)



3Above said:

Well first off it required alot of accessories that not everybody has ( move adn PS eye ) and out of those that do have them not any of them were interested in, or ever knew about Wonderbook. You either advertise to the kids ( the ones who will want it ) or to middle aged parents ( those will will buy it for said kids ) i saw niether forms of advertising.



get2sammyb said:

@3Above You couldn't avoid the ads in the UK. They also had big store promotions. Not sure what it was like overseas.



hYdeks said:

in NA, I seen NO ads for it, and this kinda game is better suited for Wii or Wii U



hamispink said:

It's as if a game that requires several expensive accessories that don't come with a $250 dollar console was doomed to failure . They should have held off of wonderbook until the ps4's release. At least then the camera would have been bundled, and the technically could made the game to not require move.



hamispink said:

@get2sammyb Good point, I suppose it doesn't fit with the direction that Sony seems to be taking with it's consoles. More power and a focus on more traditional (controlling) games. (which I think is a good thing.)
If wonderbook could be played by simply plugging it into the TV, then I could see it being a success, but requiring an already expensive console on top of three different peripherals seems to have confused and scared off a lot of consumers.
I am still of the mindset that offering too many skews to consumers has a negative affect on sales, though smart phone sales prove otherwise.



3Above said:

@get2sammyb Here in NA its like the game doesnt exist. There was virtually no advertising at all. I only knew about the game from its demo at E3 last year and a few articles online, but its unlikely that the target audience would be reading those sites or watching E3 last year. To be honest i dont recall seeing it in a few retail stores i frequent either.



Ginkgo said:

Got it for my daughter for Christmas who adored it. Already had move though so relatively cheap. Will probably pick up more titles when they come out. There is a BBC dinosaur one coming apparently that will be a huge hit in my house.



rjejr said:

Is it possible that Harry Potter is pase'? I dont know, Im just asking. Maybe a Hobbit or Marvel Avengers or Twilight - shudder - movie tie-in would have sold better? Maybe Hunger Games or 50 Shades of Gray? As others have said, I saw the E3 demo which looked putrid and boring even for the person on stage doing the demo and then occassionally mentioned on here. Oh, and I saw 1 on a bottom shelf at Target once under the PSP game section.



Stuffgamer1 said:

Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with those saying the thing was under-marketed in NA. I could damn near forget the fool thing even exists if you didn't remind me. That, and the horrible E3 presentation for the game. I'm not exactly sorry it's tanking.



NathanUC said:

I just got this for $10 for my girlfriend. She's a HUGE Harry Potter fan and she had a lot of ideas that would have been the game so much better. I still think it's a really really cool idea and I'd like to see Sony improve upon it. I'd also like to see some kinda of Vita integration as it'd be less overhead than PS3 integration.



SuperKMx said:

People don't want it, and never really did - so it isn't surprising that it didn't sell.

In this space, it isn't just down to the quality of the product, and I think Sony discounted that fact. Their method seemed to be:-

1. Sign up J.K. Rowling.
2. ????.
3. Profit!

I think consumers were confused. There were three different versions on sale, two of which came with accessories, and it was dealing with the fact that parents who bought uDraw for their kids the year before were still feeling the burn of spending £79.99 on an expansion for their console, that was now for sale at £4.99 everywhere. The product didn't feature any recognisable characters, so Sony didn't have that going for them. On top of that, if you asked a child at random whether they wanted Wonderbook or Skylanders Giants, you have a 1 in 100,000 chance of them opting for Sony's product. Finally, it was being marketed heavily in the UK - but to parents. It was showing up on daytime shows on TV, which is useless as the kids are at school, then! If you're trying to sell a toy to kids at Christmas, you market it to the kids - THEY convince the parents to buy. That's advertising 101, right there. Sony tried to take it down the "lifestyle" route and tried to market it in the same way that Wii Fit was, to an extent. Wrong move.

Too many missed steps, and that horrendous E3 demo didn't help, either.



get2sammyb said:

@KenB To be fair, while I agree, I doubt that the market that was interested in this — kids or parents — paid much attention to the E3 demo. But you make some good points.

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