Back in my day, you’d be lucky to get a miniature Beanie Baby with your Happy Meal. Nowadays, you get a kit to make your own virtual reality (VR) headset.
Starting on March 5, McDonald’s will be dishing out “Happy Goggles” at 14 of their restaurants in Sweden. The good old-fashioned plastic toys will continue to be part of the Happy Meal.
The VR goggles can be created by simply folding up the limited-edition Happy Meal boxes. After folding it up, you can place a smartphone (not included in the deal, unfortunately) in the goggles. Using specifically designed apps and videos, you can enjoy your own virtual reality experience.
To accompany the foldable Happy Meal boxes, McDonald's is releasing a game called “Watch Out on the Slopes” to use with the headset. The game is endorsed by two leading child psychologists and the Swedish alpine ski team in the hopes of teaching kids how to stay safe and alert while skiing.
The project also has another interest in promoting technology and digital skills among kids – and perhaps more importantly, their parents. In a statement, McDonald’s said: “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.”
At the moment, the VR headset will only be available in some restaurants in northern Sweden, although McDonald's have said they’re interested in rolling it out to other countries soon.
Alternatively, if McDonald’s isn’t your thing, Google has released a guide on how to make your own cupboard VR headset.