Earlier this month Mattel sent invites to an event where they and Google would make a joint announcement. Everyone speculated that it would be some sort of new View-Master device that could bring the classic 3D alternate reality headset into the 21st century.
And that’s exactly what happened today. This new View-Master headset is built based on the specifications of Google Cardboard, but it’s what Mattel’s doing on the software side that could interest an entirely new demographic.
With a smartphone lodged into the View-Master and the View-Master app running on said phone, you’ll be able to check out popular destinations and buildings in 3D just as you did on the old reel cards back in the day. The kicker here is that these environments can now be experienced in as if you were actually smack dab in the middle of those places (you simply turn your head and body to check out your surroundings instead of having to click to the next reel).
Many of the experiences will be accessible through actual reel cards, though they aren’t your ordinary “click to switch” reels from the old days. They’ll work as augmented reality cards to give you a unique view of interesting places.
Mattel will also use imagery from their archive of reels to bring you classic View-Master goodness. Of course, the enclosure with a smartphone will be able to work with any virtual reality app meant for use with any Google Cardboard configuration so you won’t be locked into Mattel’s ecosystem of goods to use it.
The headsets will retail for a very affordable $29.99, and reel cards come in packs of four for $14.99. That’s a very inexpensive way to introduce your kids to virtual reality technology if you already have a smartphone. And heck, even this big guy here is interested in revisiting the old days.
The View-Master enclosure and reel cards won’t be available until fall of 2015, so we have a fairly lengthy trek until we’re able to try it ourselves. Let us know what you think of this and if you’ll give it a shot in the comments ahead.
[via USA Today]