Not long after one of The Guardian’s writers complained about Pottermore’s eternal closed beta, the Pottermore website has announced it will be opening to all in early April, only six months after it had originally intended to do so. Apart from a variety of social activities themed around the Harry Potter universe, Pottermore will also be the source of the long-awaited official (and DRM-free!) Harry Potter e-books.
The lengthy delay came about, Pottermore’s announcement explains, because the early beta stages revealed that the site, as originally conceived, was not going to hold up under visits by millions of users:
We gathered some incredibly useful feedback from our Beta users, and it became clear that our original platform wouldn’t be suitable when millions more users came on to the site. So we made a big decision: to move Pottermore to an entirely different platform set up. This ‘invisible’ change has involved a lot of work behind the scenes but it will enable our users to get the best from Pottermore as it grows and develops.
Which is, of course, the whole purpose of early beta testing: find out if your proposed site is going to work, and if not, fix it.
It’s good to hear that the site will be launching soon. News about those Potter e-books is still sparse, however. The Guardian reports that a spokesperson for J.K. Rowling said that the e-books will launch “at around the same time” as the site, but did not provide any further details.