Mattel has sold over 100 million of its iconic View-Master stereoscopic photo viewer (and over 1.5 billion reels) since it was introduced over 75 years ago, but very few in recent years (The original View-Master was introduced at the 1939 New York World’s Fair). That is set to change as Mattel and tech giant Google announced a new, reimagined augmented reality View-Master on Friday, February 13th. This $30 augmented reality device is driven by Google’s Cardboard tech.
Of note, the new AR View-Master must be used in conjunction with a smartphone. The companies say they plan to launch the AR View-Master in October of this year.
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Sample the AR View-Master experience
Mattel noted that with the View-Master app and a compatible smartphone, viewing the sample reel will give users “a glimpse of the full View-Master experience,” including an incredible journey into space inside a space shuttle. The firm also noted that it will be selling a wide variety of themed reel packs for $14.99 each. Mattel will also be repurposing some older View-Master content such as Star Wars, Star Trek and unpublished KISS with the new viewer.
More the new AR View-Master
Mattel noted that reels for the new View-Master will be available both for purchase in-app and as physical reels. The firm plans to sell “exclusive experiences” through physical reels, because according to Mattel Senior Vice President Doug Wadleigh, kids want to have “a collectible they can keep in their room.”
Wadleigh continued to say, “Our physical product was really designed for the family. It’s kid-friendly.”
He also described this as “just the beginning” of Mattel’s virtual reality plans, but he would not comment if that meant a more extensive partnership with Google in the future.
“We are focused on the here and now,” Wadleigh commented. “This is a wonderful partnership, because their capabilities and our capabilities and where we want to go with this technology are perfectly in tune.”