McDonald’s was founded in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois and while it did serve its customers some delicious hamburgers at that time, it wasn’t until 1977 that they began their treat for kids: the Happy Meal!¬† Today’s happy meals usually include a child-sized cheeseburger, fries, and a fun but cheaply-made toy.

McDonald’s is about to up their game when it comes to their Happy Meal toys though. Their Virtual Reality headset is known as “Happy Goggles” will debut in fourteen Swedish establishments only, for now, beginning on March 5th. The release date coincides with the celebration of McDonald’s 30th anniversary in Sweden and the week-long Swedish holiday of Sportlov, a time when families are encouraged to get outside and participate in winter sports. This brand new gadget is beyond anything else McDonald’s has ever done.

The Happy Meal box will unfold into a headset that can hold a cell phone directly in front of its user’s eyes to simulate the experience of using VR goggles. Children can then play the fast-paced ski game called “Slope Stars”, made especially for McDonald’s restaurants.

These goggles are a relatively impressive toy considering it comes included in a Happy Meal that costs only $4.10. The Happy Meal box itself is part of the toy. The updated box comes with removable strips that can be taken off to reveal eyes and nose holes. Perforated lines make it easy for children to tear the needed piece away from the rest of the box and fold it to form the Happy Goggles. A cardboard lens case comes inside the box. Children first insert the lens case, then their cellular device. Once they close off the box, they can begin playing Slope Stars, a game endorsed by the Swedish National Ski team.

 

The Happy Goggles are going to be the Happy Meal toy that children and parents alike will undoubtedly enjoy playing. This cardboard headset will probably be one of the most affordable ways for the general public to partake in the virtual reality experience. With virtual goggles like Oculus Rift costing around $600, it’s understandable what all the hype in the media is about.

Slope Stars challenges its players to ski past obstacles and capture stars to score points in the 360-degree virtual world. The game is designed to teach kids safety procedures while skiing in the game that can be helpful in real life. This entertaining and educational game is geared at teaching its players to avoid potentially dangerous obstacles and fellow skiers.

Two child psychologists were hired to evaluate Slope Stars because it is such a big deal.  They wanted the game to not only appeal to children, but to parents as well. In an age where video games are geared toward the younger generation, they were hoping to develop a game that would inspire family bonding and introduce virtual reality to customers of all ages.

With today’s ever-expanding world of virtual reality, it’s understandable why McDonald’s would want to keep up with the times. If the Happy Goggles are the hit they are projected to be, it’s very likely that McDonald’s will make them available at more restaurants around the world.

About John F.

I'm a career web developer/consultant by day and a tech blogger by night. I just moved to Colorado Springs, CO where I work for a high-tech government contractor.

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