Mattel has Google to thank for helping drag the classic toy into the 21st century. The main piece is an update to the iconic red-bodied View-Master that looks a little bit like a Fisher-Price take on the Oculus Rift. The orange lever is still there, albeit in a more compact form, and the front is dominated by a black, branded piece of plastic. But rather than stationary slide, you insert a smartphone into the plastic body which, when paired with the View-Master app and a View-Master “experience reel,” lets you experience 360-degree worlds, photosphere and educational “field trips.”
Mattel might also be dipping into its huge library of classic View-Master reels, which include licensed content like Star Wars, for the new device. “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 unit will retail for $29.99, while additional reels will come in packs of four for $14.99.
you’ll have to wait until the fall to get your hands on the new View-Master. Once the viewer and app land later in October, you’ll be able to pick up additional experience reels as packs of four for $15. What’s more, iOS support for the gadget is on its way, too.