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Pottermore separates from Sony to start next stage of development

Image courtesy of Pottermore

Image courtesy of Pottermore

Pottermore has announced that they have ended their “successful relationship” with their “primary commercial partner,” Sony.

Unexpectedly, Pottermore announced the severance of ties with its founding partner in a press release this week.

On our part, we never would have expected this, considering the crucial role Sony has played in Pottermore’s development since its conception. The only reasoning we can gather is that Pottermore is ready to start an independent stage of their development, which is likely to entail a broadening expansion.

Whether Sony was holding Pottermore back from independence and expansion is unknown. The press release left no window into the reasons behind the separation, only stating that the relationship has “ended” and that the company is prepared to embark on their next phase of development.

You can read the CEO of Pottermore’s statements below; Sony has yet to make a statement.

Updated: Fansite SnitchSeeker reached out to Sony and Pottermore, and their responses are below, respectively.

A spokesperson from Pottermore told SnitchSeeker:

We are looking to explore new partnerships that will continue to help to develop the user experience in the areas of technology, creativity and commerce.

A rep from Sony spoke to SnitchSeeker about how the split would affect the site and products from the partnership. Their statement is below:

We will continue to sell our existing inventory of Wonderbook: Book of Spells and Wonderbook: Book of Potions, but will not produce any additional inventory. Anyone who owns Wonderbook will continue to receive customer service from Sony Computer Entertainment. Additionally, Pottermore at PlayStation Home will remain active for the foreseeable future and we will continue to provide customer support to its users.

Here is the full press release, issued Wednesday:

LONDON, ENGLAND, April 9, 2014 — Pottermore, the digital initiative from author J.K. Rowling devoted to the world of Harry Potter, today reported the conclusion of its successful relationship with its primary commercial partner Sony.

Pottermore.com launched in 2012 and has garnered millions of registered users. Sony was involved in the site’s development, and provided both commercial and creative support.

“After working together successfully, our relationship with Sony has ended,” said Susan L. Jurevics, CEO, Pottermore. “The partnership helped create a popular and robust digital experience for Harry Potter fans around the world. Pottermore is extremely well – positioned to build upon its success and enter its next phase in its development both creatively and commercially.”

As always, we will keep you updated with news if any is released.

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Pottermore is now compatible with tablet devices

pottermoretabletThe Pottermore Insider has announced that Pottermore.com is now available on leading tablet devices.

For the first time ever, you will be able to explore Pottermore.com on your tablet, as the entire website is now compatible with leading tablet devices.

The ability to use the experience on tablets has been a popular request of Pottermore users since the beginning, and they are now able to with this new development. This is also significant to those who rely solely on tablets, as they may now use the site to its full capacity. Previously, the website was only accessible in a web browser on the computer.

Earlier today we tried out the site on an iPad, and it was pretty much the same experience. One nice thing to note is that everything is included – nothing is held back. You can explore each layer of every Moment, collect the same objects, and smoothly journey through the story as you are able to on the computer. If you have a tablet, we encourage you to try it out.

With the launch of this mobile site, many readers and fans are looking out for a Pottermore app for their phones and other mobile devices. There is a huge demand for an app, and we know from the previous CEO and Sony’s comments that there is a collection of apps being developed. We expect a launch very soon, and we’ll keep you updated with the latest.

Have you tried out Pottermore on your tablet? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Pottermore adds Book of Potions to Hogwarts Library

Coinciding with the release of Wonderbook: Book of Potions for PlayStation 3, Pottermore has added the Book of Potions to the Hogwarts Library.

bookofpotions

Be rewarded with this badge when you collect the Book of Potions in the Hogwarts Library.

Written by Zygmunt Budge, the Book of Potions has helped witches and wizards reach their full potential in the art of the potion making since its publication in the 1500s. On Pottermore.com, you can visit the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library to collect the book. Once collected, you will be rewarded with a new badge and presented with a preview from the game.

Wonderbook: Book of Potions for PlayStation 3 will be available this week, on November 12 in the United States. It will be released in the U.K. and Ireland on November 15. You can watch a trailer of the game below:

Will you be purchasing the Book of Potions? Tell us in the comments below!

Pottermore launches in Japanese

PottermoreJapanese readers will now be able to experience J.K. Rowling’s “wonderful” gift to fans, as Pottermore.com has just launched in Japanese.

In a press release issued today, Pottermore announced their expansion into Japan, the biggest market for the Harry Potter brand outside of the U.S. In Japan alone, 24 million copies of the Harry Potter books have been purchased, and 75 million tickets to the film series. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan, is set to open in 2014 as well.

In the press release, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is quoted on the creation of Pottermore.com:

“I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation. I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments and drawings, in a safe and friendly environment – Pottermore has been designed as a place to share the stories with your friends as you journey through the site.”

Sony’s Wonderbook: Book of Spells for PlayStation 3 will also go on sale in Japan on November 7, 2013.  As we’ve reported before, the augmented reality experience “brings wizardry to life in your living room, enabling users to cast over 20
spells from the Harry Potter stories.” Wonderbook: Book of Spells is not to be confused with its successor, Book of Potions, which will be released in the U.S. and U.K. on November 12. Find out more about both games here.

Currently, the first three Harry Potter stories are available to explore in their entirety on Pottermore.com, as well as the first installment of book four. The site will continuously evolve over time as the remaining books are released and new locations to visit and activities to take part in are added. Interestingly to note, according to the press release, Pottermore.com for smartphones as well as apps are planned for the future.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated with more developments over time, so stick with us for the latest.

Wonderbook: Book of Potions to be released November 12

Book of PotionsSony has announced it will be releasing the augmented reality game, Wonderbook: Book of Potions in time for the holiday season, on November 12.

A sequel to last year’s Book of Spells, the game can be played on Sony’s PlayStation 3, with PlayStation Eye controller and PlayStation move required.

In the game, players will be introduced to a brand-new character, Zygmunt Budge, created for the game by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Budge is one of the most accomplished Potioneers ever known — an “eccentric, unstable, and vengeful wizard who left Hogwarts at the age of 14 as an act of protest.” Budge will guide players in the game to become potion champions themselves — and compete to win the “elusive” Golden Cauldron. Players will also have the chance to integrate their Hogwarts house and use their very own wand to make potions, if they choose to link their Pottermore.com account.

The perfect gift for children or even adult Harry Potter fans, the Book of Potions will be available for $29.99 starting November 12.

Former Sony exec named new Pottermore CEO

Susan Jurevics

Susan Jurevics

In a press release issued today, Pottermore announced that Susan Jurevics, previously a top executive at Sony, will be taking over as chief executive officer of the company.

Starting on October 1st, Jurevics will be working alongside Julian Thomas, who has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer, to run J.K. Rowling’s unique digital venture. Thomas has been acting CEO at Pottermore since Charlie Redmayne left in July.

According to the press release, over career, Susan has managed many leading entertainment, media and technology companies. Most recently she was a Senior Vice President at Sony and was in charge of marketing the brand while she was there. During this time she also led Sony’s global partnership with Pottermore. Currently based in New York, Jurevics will be moving to London to take up the position of c.e.o.

Jurevics’s comment from the press release:

“I am delighted to be joining Pottermore, a business I know well already, to take it into the next exciting stage of its development. A world of new opportunities is opening up and Pottermore will be there at the forefront of digital innovation. I’d like to thank Julian Thomas for taking the helm in the interim and I look forward to working with him, the fantastic team now in place at Pottermore, J.K. Rowling, and the team at The Blair Partnership.”

Neil Blair, chairman and cofounder of Pottermore said, “We’re delighted to welcome Susan over to Pottermore. We have enjoyed working with her at Sony and are looking forward to her leading the team into exciting new challenges. She has powerful global experience in brand and retail, as well as all the managerial attributes and creativity to steer Pottermore through an increasingly complex digital landscape.”

Although it’s interesting Pottermore chose such a close connection, its not at all surprising. Hopefully Jurevics’s experience will help her lead the company into greater success. We wish her all the best!

Update: We found an interesting video of Susan, in which she talks about marketing the Sony brand and calls for more consumer input. This is something Potter fans have been vying for since Pottermore’s launch, and Jurevics could just be the perfect person to meet their/our needs as users. (Note: video is two years old.)

Related: Charlie Redmayne resigns as C.E.O. of Pottermore

Explore the Hogwarts Library and step inside the Forbidden Forest on Pottermore for PlayStation Home

Play Wizard Chess on Pottermore at PlayStation Home

Play Wizard Chess on Pottermore at PlayStation Home

PlayStation Home has added new locations and capabilities to Pottermore at PlayStation Home, including the Hogwarts Library and the Forbidden Forest, in its third update of the game.

The new areas are advertised in a trailer released by Sony; “Seek out and piece together hidden pages of text in the library” or “Battle against your opponent in Wizard Chess”, as shown and presented in the preview. All the new games seem like a lot of fun, so if you have a PlayStation, be sure to download Pottermore at PlayStation Home. You can watch the new trailer right here.

The official Sony blog writes:

If it were up to you, if there was a single ‘something new’ to be built within the world of Pottermore at PlayStation Home, what would you choose? Would you like to read a book in the majestic Hogwarts library? Fly on a broomstick? Enter the treacherous Forbidden Forest? Brave an underground chessboard chamber for a giant game of wizard chess? Luckily, you won’t need to choose because we’ve gone ahead and built the lot!

As we said before, this is a lot like a Harry Potter MMoRPG, and probably the closest you’re going to get to one. You need a PlayStation 3 console and to have downloaded PlayStation Home to play Pottermore.

Thanks to AlphaZone 4 and the PlayStation community forum for finding this. We’re expect the Insider will be announcing this soon, too.

Image courtesy of Sony.

Pottermore reveals more about the Story Navigator feature

The Pottermore Insider revealed more information about the new Story Navigator that was announced a few weeks ago.

The Story Navigator is a new feature that will enable users to more easily explore the available moments on Pottermore.com. This new feature and (at least) two others will debut in the coming weeks when the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban chapters are released.

Today Pottermore announced that the Story Navigator will also feature a “Discovery Bar” and “Moment Markers”. The Discovery Bar, the Insider post reads, will be “displayed along the bottom of each Moment thumbnail on the Story Navigator,” and will show the progress you’ve made through the Moment.

The Discovery Bar is the strip of gold at the bottom of the Moments' thumbnails. Image courtesy of Pottermore.

The Discovery Bar is the strip of gold at the bottom of the Moments’ thumbnails.
Image courtesy of Pottermore.

From the post:

If you’re ever worried that you have overlooked a hidden Galleon or Potions ingredient, or even that you’ve missed one of the exclusive entries by J.K. Rowling, you will now be sure whether you’ve explored each Moment in full, or whether you still have more to discover. There will be a new Discovery Bar displayed along the bottom of each Moment thumbnail on the Story Navigator, so those of you who like to leave no stone unturned will know whether you have discovered everything within that Moment or not.

As we said above, there will also be “Moment Markers”, which will be placed against the thumbnail images of the Moments to indicate where new information from J.K. Rowling can be discovered, where to listen to snippets from the digital audio books, and where a challenge awaits.

The Red Quill marker will appear on the thumbnail of each Moment that contains exclusive new writing from J.K. Rowling, so you’ll never miss discovering these informative entries.

The Challenge marker lets you know that the Moment contains a challenge, such as ‘de-gnoming the garden’ or ‘recapturing the Cornish pixies’.

Make sure you have your sound turned on when you see this Speaker marker – it means a snippet from the digital audio books will be played within the Moment.

We have all this and more to look forward to in the coming weeks. You can read about the other upcoming site features by tracking our “Features and Capabilitiescategory right here. The new features will be available once the final installment of Prisoner of Azkaban is available in the coming weeks.

Share comments beneath Moments and Book Pages: More new features coming to Pottermore

As reported last week, Pottermore announced that new features will be coming to the site once the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is released in the coming weeks. Today, they announced two of those new features: the ability to comment on Moments, chapters, and J.K. Rowling’s entries, and Book Pages.

With the ability to comment on the Moments, users can share their thoughts about the Moment, read other people’s comments, and interact with the community.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

You will not only have the ability to comment on Moments, but each book, each chapter, and each exclusive content entry from J.K. Rowling, so you can discuss your feelings and ideas about the Harry Potter stories and interact with the Pottermore community.

Another addition that is coming to the site is Book Pages. With the launch of these new features, each book in the Harry Potter series will have its own Book Page. “Here you will be able to discuss your thoughts and reflections on that book, whether it’s currently available to explore on Pottermore.com or not,” writes Pottermore.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

Are you excited about these new features? Last week we learned about the new Story Navigator – click here to find out more about it. Remember, over the coming weeks Pottermore will be introducing the new features, and also sharing exclusive behind-the-scenes insights about the last installment of Prisoner of Azkaban on the Pottermore Insider, the only place for official Pottermore news.

Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne leaving the company to head HarperCollins UK

Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne has headed the company since October 2011.

Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne has headed the company since October 2011.

News broke today that Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne would be leaving the company to head HarperCollins UK following the departure of their current CEO Victoria Barnsley.

According to The Bookseller, Redmayne will be taking up his role on August 5. Current CTO Julian Thomas will be his interim during the transition period.

J.K. Rowling’s agent and co-founder of Pottermore, Neil Blair, said of Redmayne’s departure: “We’d like to thank Charlie for his great work on Pottermore. As it enters an exciting new phase of development, with the support of primary partner Sony, and also of Warner Bros, Pottermore is in great shape, with a robust in-house team in place, and CTO Julian Thomas at the helm in the transition process.”

Blair also commented that the company is now in the process of recruiting a new CEO to “lead the project into the future.”

Redmayne had this to say about leaving the company:

“Steering Pottermore through such a ground-breaking time in its development has been a great experience, and I am proud of what we have achieved.  We have built up a brilliant in-house team at Pottermore, and I know I am leaving it in the best possible hands. I am excited for its future under new leadership, where it will continue to push the boundaries of digital publishing.”

Prior to Pottermore, Redmayne was Chief Digital Officer at HarperCollins until making the move to J.K. Rowling’s company in October 2011. During his time as chief executive officer, he lead the launch of Pottermore and the very successful Pottermore Shop. He has also helped in the development of Pottermore on PlayStation Home, the Book of Spells, and the recently announced Book of Potions.

Here at Pottermore News, we are sorry to see Redmayne go but wish him all the best. He’s done a fantastic job as CEO and we’re sure he’ll do the same at HarperCollins U.K.

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