We’ve heard it numerous times before from augmented reality startups: “it’ll turn you into a real life Iron Man!” Now Hasbro is taking the sentiment to heart with their upcoming AR toy which gives you an Iron Man mask, VR-style headset, AR markers, and a gauntlet to engage in combat.
The AR toy made its debut shortly before this year’s annual Toy Fair in New York. Hasbro calls it (long-winded name incoming) the Marvel Avengers: Infinity War Hero Vision Iron Man AR Experience.
As reported by The Verge, the Iron Man AR toy relies on your smartphone (Android or iOS) to drive the experience, using a companion app and your phone’s camera for augmented reality pass-through.
With the companion app loaded up on a phone running Android 5+ or iOS 10+, you’re presented with an AR overlay of enemies and their bases. The idea is to destroy all enemies and eventually confront the franchise’s latest bad guy, Thanos, by raising the gauntlet and blasting away. According to The Verge, kids can also use the included AR markers to create their own levels.
The toy is said to feature 10 levels interspersed with mandatory breaks where you have to take out the phone every 10 minutes to customize armor—something likely put in place to give parents peace of mind. Hasbro hasn’t released information on the target age group, but if we can infer anything from the spot below, it’s trying to appeal to preteens.
The whole system is slated to arrive this spring with a $50 price tag. While the company currently doesn’t plan on creating additional levels, users will be able to purchase more infinity stones to change their powers in the future. The company says that the headset is intended to provide “several hours” of gameplay.
It’s hard to believe this will be something you’d want to actually play for hours, given the fact that head-mounted pass-through AR is incidentally pretty horrible. Because the app supports older phones that don’t have specialized low-latency inertial measurement units (IMUs), including Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6, the best you can hope for is a Cardboard-style viewing experience with a built-in latency that just isn’t ideal for longer viewing sessions. Since the toy’s AR function is accomplished through a single pass-through camera (another point of latency), and not two, it also can’t provide a correct stereoscopic view, making it even less appealing to long-term usability.
We haven’t had a chance to mess around with the Hero Vision Iron Man AR Experience yet, so we can’t make any judgement. In its defense, at very least the headset comes with the hypothetical possibility of using it as a Cardboard VR headset when you’re finished with the Iron Man game, which may help justify the $50 price tag somewhat. That’s more than we can say for Lenovo’s Mirage Solo AR headset though, which shipped with a single Star Wars game.