Disrupted Toys – Mattel makes a move to bring virtual reality to kids

Virtual Reality about to go mainstream in an ideal environment

iDisrupted Commentary

The amount of innovation effort into the kids market is starting to see traction. We’ve covered AI kids toys before with Cognitoy and we’ve covered the burgeoning VR market around education. With a potential market worth of $150b in 5 years  VR needs traction to move it from development to product.
This week Mattel has announced a partnership with Google to bring Google Cardboard to the childrens toy market – hastening mass market adoption for virtual reality.
Here’s the article from Venturebeat: “Mattel thinks it’s cracked the code to making virtual reality kid friendly.
Google and Mattel VR Viewmaster
Credit: www.technewstoday.com
The 70-year-old toy company, under the guidance of Google, released its Cardboard-powered View-Master on Friday. After going hands-on with the nostalgic headset this week, we’ve reached a verdict.
 
For tech-savvy parents, kid gamers, and iPad wielding 7-year-olds, the revamped View-Master is worth its $30-plus price.
 
Just don’t expect an easy setup. Or a mind-blowing immersive experience. If that’s what you want, no such VR kid’s toy currently exists for you. It’ll be a few years before that happens. So, get outta here. Go on, scoot.
 
If you’re intrigued, we’ve summarized the gadget’s upsides and shortcomings below. So far, we’ve spent three days with Mattel’s toy — in addition to weeks of fiddling with Google’s Cardboard viewer and underlying software. Let’s start with the hardware.
 
This is not an Oculus Rift. This is a toy. It’s powered by Google’s imperfect Cardboard platform and requires a smartphone. It retails at stores like Toys”R”Us and Walmart for $30.
 
The gadget, a classic View-Master shell housing bi-convex lenses and a grip for your smartphone, is pretty sturdy but not entirely bulletproof. And the accompanying reels, which trigger augmented- and virtual-reality experiences, cost a fair $15 for a pack of three.
 
For geeky, smartphone-owning parents looking to try Google’s VR platform, this is a great deal — considering how flimsy Cardboard units can be.