Remember the Nintendo’s Virtual Boy? In 1995, the Japanese game company launched this 3D version of its popular Game Boy. The device turned out to be a big flop. Today, however, the 3D hype is back and toy maker Hasbro has decided to jump on the bandwagon with the My3D – a $30 set of binoculars with a slot for an iPod touch or iPhone that promises to offer an immersive 360 degree 3D viewing experience.
Hasbro has already partnered with Dreamworks Animation, Discovery, Sony, Imax and the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau to bring games and video content to the device. Hasbro is targeting this accessory at adults and children.
For $30, the My3D will be cheap enough to get early adopters to give it a try, but it remains to be seen if the 3D experience will be good enough to attract enough buyers. With access to the iPhone’s accelerometers and gyroscopes, Hasbro’s hardware has the potential to enable interesting immersive virtual reality experiences that the old Virtual Boy’s simply couldn’t handle 15 years ago.
Will Developers Get to Play, Too?
For the time being, it is not clear if Hasbro will give third-party developers the ability to create My3D-compatible apps. Given that the device is basically a glorified View-Master, with all the hardware and software running on the iOS device, it would be a shame if developers couldn’t write apps for it. Traditional toy companies, however, aren’t exactly known for giving outside developers easy access to their hardware.
Assuming developers can build apps for this device, it’ll be interesting to see how they will use these new 3D capabilities. The Associated Press reports that Hasbro itself wants to offer gaming and “virtual travel experiences and entertainment content.” There is also the potential for new augmented reality applications here that offer a more immersive experience – though you might look like a dork staring through your My3D binoculars while standing in a busy tourist spot.