This year brings the release of commercial VR headsets for a mass-market audience. Oculus Rift, PSVR and HTC Vive will all be on store shelves by Christmas and now one more fighter is entering the ring. View-Master announced they will be releasing an updated version of the entry-level VR headset, dubbed the View-Master DLX, this fall.
Mattel launched the initial VR View-Master last year for $30, with Google Cardboard compatibility. The device can be found at stores like Toys R Us and Target and is positioned as an easy-access entry point into VR for casual shoppers looking to pick up a birthday gift. The new version will be nowhere near as robust as the Rift or the Vive, but will boast several new features that may elevate it past the kids toy status it currently holds.
The DLX will feature updated lenses and a Gear VR-like focus wheel for sharper images. It will also provide a sorely-needed headphone jack to enable immersive sound in its VR experiences. Sound is an important part of the VR experience and its absence on Mattel’s original View-Master model is a significant weak point for the system. The final update of note is an enclosure system to better house the smartphone that makes the whole operation tick. The enclosure is designed to prevent the phone from plummeting to an early demise in the hands of younger users or the occasional clumsy adult.
Mattel will also sell “Experience Wheels” for $15 each, serving as the platform’s form of content distribution. Mattel also recently made VR history by seeing its View-Master become the first piece of VR hardware to be sold either in-store or online by Apple.