McDonalds announces a test run of a limited quantity of a new virtual reality device built into their iconic Happy Meal boxes, similar to Google Cardboard.
Virtual reality is definitely the next big thing, with PC and console gaming companies all launching VR headsets. However, other virtual reality headset creators now have a new competitor entering the market: McDonalds.
McDonalds has released a surprise announcement that they’ll begin testing a new virtual reality headset at select restaurant chains in Sweden. The headset is essentially the same as Google Cardboard, which basically amounts to a cardboard headset with a smart phone mounted to the end. The headset gives the impression of a three-dimensional view, and the gyroscope in the user’s phone changes the environment depending on which direction they look in or how they tip their heads.
McDonalds is currently planning to sell the devices for a little over four dollars on the weekends of March 5th and March 12th, but there will only be 3,500 of them available in select test store locations. Rather than creating a separate product that’s ready to go, the Happy Goggles can actually be constructed out of a Happy Meal box once a customer has finished eating the contents (and perhaps finding a video game toy). McDonalds will also release a minigame to go with the Happy Goggles called Beware of the Hill, which is intended to teach children skiing safety.
McDonalds is no stranger to video games, as it’s previously made deals with gaming companies to hold special promotions, like releasing the Mythical Pokemon Hoopa exclusively over the McDonalds Nintendo Network. However, releasing a pair of virtual reality goggles, no matter how simplistic in design, still comes as a sudden surprise.
Admittedly, Happy Goggles and Google Cardboard are on the extreme low end of virtual reality devices. However, for the budget conscious who still want to give the virtual reality experience a try, these inexpensive devices do have their perks. While Google Cardboard and Happy Goggles are available for nearly no cost, the high-quality gaming virtual reality headsets can be extremely expensive. The HTC Vive is set to cost $799, and gamers may have to spend even more if their computers aren’t up to the task of high-intensity three-dimensional gaming.
Until gamers actually get their hands on virtual reality headsets, it remains to be seen if the experience takes off the way that the developers of the headsets are hoping they will. Even if they don’t, though, viewing mini-games and three-dimensional camera feeds through simplistic viewers like Google Cardboard and Happy Goggles are a neat way to pass the time with very little investment required.