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J.K. Rowling, Sony pact for ‘Wonderbook’

Collabo includes new stories from the wizarding world for PlayStation 3

J.K. Rowling is about to cast a spell on PlayStation owners.

The author of the “Harry Potter” series and Sony on Monday announced a collaboration that includes new stories from the wizarding world she created that will be brought to live on the PlayStation 3.

“Wonderbook: Book of Spells” will let players see pages from the real-world book come to life using augmented reality. Reader/players will use their PS Move motion controllers as wands, learning familiar spells from the Harry Potter world, like Incindo (the fire making skill).

The collaboration is the first between Sony, Rowling and the Pottermore website. The book will lead the PlayStation’s “Wonderbook” series, which has also tapped Moonbot Studios to create a book for the “Wonderbook:” initiative, called “Diggs Nightcrawler”.

Beyond family friendly entertainment, Sony also emphasized plans to give its underperfoming PlayStation Vita handheld a major push this holiday season, announcing a slew of new titles for the system as well as forthcoming entertainment options.

The Vita will soon add Hulu Plus and Crackle availability, letting people watch television and film programming on the go. Gaming-wise, Sony and Ubisoft unveiled “Assassin’s Creed: Liberation” game, set in New Orleans that will feature naval battles and Activision confirmed that it will release “Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified,” a previously unannounced game in the multi-billion dollar franchise, this fall.

The PlayStation 3, meanwhile, will be offering a wide variety of new games – from the “Super Smash Bros”-like “PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale” to the cinematic “Beyond: Two Souls,” the latest from developer Quantic Dream, best known for “Heavy Rain.”

“Beyond,” which features facial motion capture and voice work from Ellen Page, follows the lead character – who has a mysterious tie to an unseen supernatural ghost-like creature – over 15 years of her life.

Rather than focusing on the action elements, the company showcased the cinematic aspects, showing a long, dramatic cut-scene between two characters that played more like a clip from a Hollywood film.

Similary, “The Last of Us,” from the makers of the cinematic “Uncharted” series was demoed extensively for the first time. The game is the first in an action/adventure series set in a plague-decimated world, where an adult survivor and a 14-year old girl fight for survival against infected, zombie-like creatures and hostile bands of marauders.

The company also showcased “God of War: Ascentson,” the latest installment in the popular action franchise and announced a partnership with HTC to bring its PlayStation mobile initiative to third party phones for the first time.

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