LA-based Quantum Storey is bridging physical and virtual worlds for kids with a new series of extended reality (XR) novels featuring Hasbro brands.
The collaboration will see Quantum’s proprietary XR technology embedded in books featuring Hasbro characters. At the end of each chapter, a visual activation code (or “PortalPoint”) prompts the reader to pick up their phone or VR headset and engage with the story in the virtual realm. VR elements have start and end points, giving users prompts as to when they can remove the goggles and read the next chapter.
A My Little Pony title is available for preorder now on quantumstorey.com for US$34.99. The book-and-headset package, branded as a Quantum Movie Novel, will be released on April 25 to coincide with the premiere of feature film My Little Pony: A New Generation. My Little Pony: Virtual Magic blends AR and VR together to create a story adventure that lets kids jump straight from the page to see the world they were just reading about with their own eyes. Next up, XR books based on Transformers and Clue are currently in development,
Marissa Mansolillo, director of publishing at Hasbro, says these first few IPs were chosen for fit with each brand’s audience profile and its suitability for virtual interaction. “It might surprise some people to learn that My Little Pony stretches up to a junior novel [audience of around age 12]. But we knew from a decade of book sales that independent readers want original stories about our ponies, and particularly origin stories,” she explains. “Clue is already a story-led game, plus it opens up a different genre. We envision the reader virtually stepping into the mystery they’re solving—and with Clue, the mystery doesn’t have to be a murder.”
IP fit is a very important part of the formula for success, notes Michelle Haines, CEO of Quantum Storey. The company launched its first XR book brand for kids in 2017 with Morning Nightmare: Operation YOU, following up in 2018 with Hotel Transylvania 3: Virtual Vacation, which was packaged with the Blu-ray/DVD release of Hotel Transylvania 3.
“We use AR not just as a gimmick to have a character come up off the cover and say hello, but to invite you inside,” she says. “And then once you’re inside, you can visualize what you are reading about.”