To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Happy Meal in Sweden, McDonald’s Sweden has created something pretty magnificent: Happy Goggles. A re-folded Happy Meal box can create a pair of glasses that give a three-dimensional space that allows a smartphone to slip inside and presto: virtual reality.
It’s a pretty fascinating thing to do with a box that french fries normally live inside. It’s also probably good that this is only being released in Sweden, because an American fast food toy that required a smart phone to use would probably get called out for having some class problems.
McDonald’s continually tests new ideas and, with Happy Goggles, there was a lot of research invested in producing something that could improve children’s lives while also being entertaining.
Psychologists Karl Eder and Fadi Lahdo are quoted in the press release:
New generations are growing up in a world where smartphones and tablets are a part of our ordinary life. The VR goggles open the door to virtual worlds, which of course is very exciting. This step might come more natural for children than for adults. It creates an opportunity for adults to learn from the children’s knowledge and experience. The gaming can also be a good, joint activity that makes it easier to hang out — on equal terms.
The Happy Goggles launches with a game called Slope Stars, which will allow children to ski down a mountain and utilizes 360 degree views. The game is also endorsed by the Swedish Ski Team, extra dedication to the quality of the product.
There is something fascinating here about making VR accessible to the general public, especially through a family chain restaurant. The price-prohibitive structure of new VR hardware is going to be one of the biggest problems with its release, and getting it into the hands of children is a delightful way of giving back. Perhaps the most interesting part will be seeing how far McDonald’s takes this. Will there be follow-up games or new releases over an extended period of time? What could we teach kids using this technology? It opens a lot of doors, so kudos on this marketing gimmick.