Readers of a certain age will no doubt remember the View-Master, the special-format viewing device that accepted cardboard reels with stereoscopic 3D images on film. They first debuted in 1939 but remained popular – especially among children – up until the past decade or two.
The toy was destined to fade away but then Google came knocking.
The search giant struck up a partnership with toy maker Mattel to create a brand new version of the View-Master for the virtual reality era. The new device will use Google’s Cardboard VR platform so you’ll need an Android-based smartphone to pair with it. Support for the iPhone is reportedly coming at a later date, we’re told.
Kids of all ages (adults included) will be treated to 360-degree tours of far-away destinations (think Google Maps Street View-style interactivity), fly-bys of famous cities and landmarks and more through the use of experience reels.
Resurrecting an old toy may seem like a silly idea to some but the device has a proven track record of success. Mattel said it has sold more than 100 million units and over 1.5 billion reels over its lifetime. And with a vast back catalog of View-Master imagery dating back to 1939, there should be no shortage of material to recycle for today’s youth.
This modern View-Master will go on sale this fall priced at $29.99 (you’ll need to supply your own smartphone, obviously). A single sample reel comes with the kit but if you want more, they’ll be sold in packs of four for $14.99.