Last week we reported on a cryptic invite that Google and Mattel were sending out to members of the press for an event the two were holding, and today is the day of that event, and like we all suspected, Google and Mattel have unveiled a new View-Master, but with a VR twist.
Today, Mattel has announced a partnership with Google to create a new version of the View-Master that utilises Google’s Cardboard VR Tech. Surprisingly Mattel haven’t named the device the View-Master VR or the Google-Master, instead it’s just the View-Master.
As with Google Cardboard, in order for the View-Master to work, you won’t need to use colourful disks like the original, this time you’ll need a smartphone running the Mattel App to recreate the effect, though it’ll also work with Cardboard-compatible apps. Those colourful disks won’t be fazed out however, they’ll be sold separately to provide unique experiences like giving you a view of Alcatraz or other locations like a space shuttle. Mattel will call these scenarios “360 degree photospheres.”
The device will mostly be using augmented reality and simple animations to create a more immersive experience.
“Move your head. Look around. Embark on immersive 360-degree journeys exploring and learning about the world through stunning visuals,” describes the View-Master website. “Take a virtual field trip to Paris and sit in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower as it soars above you. Visit historic Alcatraz Island and interact with your surroundings to discover fun facts.”
For those who are still in love with the classic reels, it seems Mattel might also be dipping into its huge back-catalogue which includes licensed content such as Star Wars and more.
“We’re creatively trying to figure out ways to use the old imagery in ways that enhance the new experience,” Mattel senior vice president Doug Wadleigh told USA Today. Google, meanwhile, sees the new device as a way to bring VR to a younger audience, with Google Cardboard product director Mike Jazayeri explaining that the View-Master is a way “to make immersive virtual reality experiences as accessible as possible for everyone.”
The View-Master isn’t expected to launch until fall 2015 and will cost $29.99. Additional reels will come in packs of four for $14.99. You can find more information about the View-Master on Mattel’s website.