Sony Wonderbook: I'm predicting a flop, based purely on the advertising

If truth in advertising is too much to ask, how about just advertising the product?

I saw on VentureBeat this morning that Sony has signed J.K. Rowling to write the first game/book for PlayStation’s augmented reality peripheral, Wonderbook.

Intrigued (although I am, alas, no Harry Potter fan) I checked out the story, and watched the promotion videos that Sony created to promote the new product launch, eager to see how the Wonderbook works and what it does. Only to be vastly unimpressed … not with the videos themselves, but with the fact that they show virtually nothing of the actual product.

Here’s one:

What does this product actually look like? What does it really do? I mean, there’s wonderful soft mystical music, magical flourishes, and impressive CG effects. But no actual footage of the real product. The funniest part in the narration? About 50 seconds in:

Melodramatic english narrator: ” … must be seen to be believed.”

Caveat immediately follows: “Images simulated. Actual game images appear on your television …”

If they must be seen to be believed, I don’t currently believe … mostly because I haven’t seen. So show me, Sony! Show the actual product in actual use with actual images.

The second promo vid is just as bad, if not worse. There are not going to be cool little cartoon characters popping out of the product, hovering in mid-air, talking to kids.

This is a set-up for disappointment. Sony has learned nothing from Apple, which focuses on making incredible products, and then simply demonstrates them in its ads in a low-key, nonchalant manner. (Which, by the way, makes them much more credible, much more believable.) Sony’s ads are nothing but hype.

Based solely on the ads, I think Wonderbook is going to be a major flop.

 


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