Kat VR, the China-based company behind the original Kat Walk VR treadmill Kickstarter in 2015, has brought its new consumer-focused VR treadmill ‘Kat Walk C’ to the crowdfunding platform last week. Less than 24 hours after its launch, the project successfully broke through the $1 million mark, and it hasn’t shown sign of stopping.

Update (June 29th, 2020): Kat VR’s latest Kickstarter campaign has tacked on another $300,000 in the week following its $1 million breakout success, which took place in the first 24 hours of going live on June 21st.

Stretch goals already reached include a cable pulley system, storage hooks, a dedicated game to showcase the Kat Walk C, and gamepad/keyboard emulation for non-VR games. The next goal, set at $1.5 million, will bring haptic feedback module to the device’s base. At this rate, the last stretch goal will very likely be reached in the campaign’s remaining 31 days We’ll have our eyes peeled for the next set of goals when/if the campaign releases them.


Update (June 22nd, 2020): Kat VR’s Kat Walk C Kickstarter has done it. Blowing past its initial funding goal of 100,000 in only three minutes, the crowdfunding campaign went on to surge for the next 24 hours, garnering the company over $1 million at the time of this writing.

All early bird specials are gone, making the $999 tier the cheapest for buying a single unit. Multiple unit tiers are still available though.

Original Article (June 19th, 2020): The campaign is slated to begin at 10 AM ET (local time here) on Sunday, and will end on July 30th. Kat VR hopes to reach at least $100,000 with its campaign.

Kat Walk C will be offered via multiple quantity-limited tiers, with the earliest supporters getting a chance to reserve their own at what the company calls “a significant discount.”

It’s not clear what the final MSRP will be after the Kickstarter is said and done, however Kat VR has consistently made their crowdfunded hardware cheaper to backers.

Check out the tiers below:

  • Super KATer Extra Early Bird: $699 + Delivery (Limited Quantity)
  • Extra Early-Bird: $799 + Delivery (Limited Quantity)
  • Early-Bird: $899 + Delivery (Limited Quantity)
  • Special Kickstarter Offer: $999 + Delivery (Unlimited Quantity)

Additionally, the company says it’s going to offer discounts for backers looking to buy multiple units, which will include discounts on delivery costs.

The first units of Kat Walk C are expected to ship to backers in early October, Kat VR says.

Kat VR says the device acts as an “independent controller”, allowing it to work with any SteamVR game with free locomotion on major VR headsets such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Pimax, and Windows VR. The device is also said to be compatible with Oculus Quest via Link, and with PSVR via an additional adapter.

Like all of the company’s VR treadmills, Kat Walk C incorporates a low-friction parabola and slippy user-worn footwear, giving you a slick surface that simulates walking to some degree.

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We’ve had a chance to go hands-on with its bigger brother back at Gamescom 2017. Although VR treadmills have gotten better throughout the years, they still don’t offer a natural walking experience, as the user needs to adapt to the low-friction surface and the demands of pulling themselves opposite to the rear-mounted stabilizer bar.

That said, there’s really no other device class in town that approximates walking in VR—let alone one for consumers—so we’re interested to see how Kat Walk C fares before offering any further opinion.

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  • Bob

    Do not support these types of locomotion especially if it’s a Kickstarter (products that are churned out from this cesspool are most often a waste of time due to poor quality, unprofessional management and customer service).

    Be patient. Use other means to travel through VR such as full locomotion until a breakthrough happens in this area.

    • Jan Ciger

      It is the same company that is producing Katwalk already. They are using Kickstarter as means to do marketing, not to start up a new product.

      The problem is that nobody is buying these gizmos – because it is expensive, takes up a ton of space and people realized pretty quickly that having to actually physically walk/run the distance you travel in VR on one of these gets old pretty fast. Especially if someone imagines playing a fast-paced shooter on one of these.

    • VR Sverige

      Its far from perfect I agree, but we need to support these guys to get somewhere since its SOOOO niche. I see tons of improvements compared to Gen1 of KAT. So for people with money to burn on their hobby its a cool addition. Even if not perfect, and definitely dont solve the locomotion equations. Most people who purchase this knows that.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      What is there to be patient about if nobodyelse is creating those devices… And why not support if one thinks it is an interesting way of being able to walk on the spot.. It’s like with many things in VR, you have to get used to it to be able to use it well.. Most other means of travel through VR also suck just as much, the only way it will ever happen is when we get ‘VR’ connected directly in our brain and we lay on a bed or something like that, anything else will always be a large contraption.

      • James Cobalt

        Because these have been tried and failed multiple times already – and it’s not due to small things addressed with iterative improvements; the problem is fundamental. Doesn’t matter how used to it you get – it will never translate 1 to 1 to in game movement and it will never feel natural. Even with the foot trackers, you can see from their own videos how the player being walking a full second before the system considers it forward movement. The forward movement speed isn’t 1 to 1 with your stride, nor do your feet land and lift in a way that mimics the game geometry (even if said geometry is a flat plane). There’s promising research into other locomotion options, and we should probably just wait for that stuff to pan out. This one’s just false hope.

  • Jan Ciger

    Given the “runaway success” that these “treadmills” (more like “slide your feet in place” bowls) have enjoyed so far, I do wonder why yet another company is starting a yet another Kickstarter for yet another gadget that almost nobody wants and will buy?

    What is the difference from Virtuix Omni, Cyberith Virtualizer, Infinadeck or Wizdish – all of which I could order today if I wanted it? Don’t say “price” – those $700 or so is completely unrealistic for a device of this size and it won’t sell for that much.

    What am I missing here?

    • James Cobalt

      What am I missing here?

      There’s a sucker born every minute?

      • guest

        In China there’s a sucker born every nanosecond!

        They are self-purchasing product to pump their numbers. Just like Facebook, Sony, Arianna, and Justin Bieber do!

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Kat isn’t yet another company, this is their third incarnation of a system like this.

    • Beri

      Sliding or running it does not matter, you are missing the point…
      running on a gym treadmill is not natural either, nor is playing guitar,
      using mouse or typing on a keyboard… you use it ,you learn it , your
      brain remembers it and it becomes natural like everything else… the
      main thing is you
      are safely strapped protected from falling whilst able to fully use your
      body movement , I know way too well what is like to loose balance and
      fall whilst in VR and hurt yourself….2nd you don’t need a whole room
      just a place in the
      corner of your room! and the whole point is you can use your feet to
      move
      inside the game even if it is not 100 % natural! as i said neither using
      computer mouse is natural yet we do it every day!

  • Adderstone VR

    Not a serious product – won’t get anywhere

  • Trip

    I’m fairly happy with my CyberShoes. Important to note that I can still use the thumbstick while using the shoes. Compatibility is not quite as “universal” as implied though and it does have some drawbacks of course.

    • ale bro

      i’ve got cybershoes as well. i don’t use them that much, but i’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well they work.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    I’m sorry, but anything beyond the $699 (excluding shipping) is already way too much for a consumer product like this.

  • VRFUN

    does anyone like the Kat treadmill? I’m new to VR treadmills. It sees useful to be physical while enjoying games. I would love to hear from folks who have really tried it.

  • 3872Orcs

    I don’t see why anyone would want this imperfect solution. The locomotion options we have work fine. Most people should be able to handle smooth locomotion if it’s done right and with comfort options and alternative moment styles. Only thing I find that is really missing on some headsets (except Quest and Vive) is wireless. If you’ve tried the Vive wireless solution it’s hard to go back to wired.

    Also for those of you who have tried the 144Hz on the Index; it’s a lot smoother and more comfortable then the typically 90hz most headsets use. 80hz is okay on Rift S and Quests 72hz is barely adequate. On the Quest even I with my good tolerance get sick quickly when doing smooth locomotion. Higher refresh rates does help considerably! All future headsets really should go for higher refresh rates and in general more comfortable built HMDs, then less people will get sick and feel the need for treadmills.

    The real solution here is better HMD specs and more comfortable VR gear.

    If the Index was wireless it would damn near be perfect, well at least until something even better comes along. Where is the wireless adapter GabeN?!

    • Charles

      If done right, a treadmill would be the optimal solution. Unfortunately, there has never been a VR treadmill that’s been done right, and probably won’t be until the distant future. It would have to allow for all kinds of natural movements that you can do in a roomscale space, such as ducking, sitting, strafing, and even lying down. Until then, treadmills take away from the experience more than they add for many VR experiences.

  • ssn708

    KAT VR is 100% FULL OF IT. Their link was “broken”, so once you actually go to kickstarter, they said that all three price points below $1000 were sold out (they never stated what the limit was on each price point). I was on there even WITH their own broken link, within 3 minutes of launch and all three sub-$1000 price points were sold. Bullsh*t, they never intended to sell them at $700.

    • James Cobalt

      According to Kickstarter’s stats, there were only 50 at the $700 price, and it looks like they went within seconds. The rest probably went within a minute or so too. I suppose it’s possible KatVR set those up so as soon as it went live, people on their team purchased a high qty of them all at once. But it seems more likely there were enough motivated buyers to wipe out the very limited quantity of cheaper rewards.

      Consider yourself lucky. You don’t want to waste your money on these. There are better ones on the market, and the better ones are TERRIBLE.

  • MW

    ‘Treadmill on Kickstarter’ becoming a meme:) if you looking for the dumbest way to spend your money, this is one of the best. Product without a market.

  • Thinker

    Fool me once…

    • Patrick Hogenboom

      shame on….

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Oh comeon, why not just a completely new article… This is just getting lame, more and more articles are just ‘updated’ even though it’s actually different news.
    But only 24 hours to blast through their goal, that just shows there are enough people interested in this.

    • James Cobalt

      Look at it this way – the only new information is a couple sentences worth, so a completely new article for a minor update means lots of duplicated, low-quality filler content so that each article can stand on its own. RTVR’s approach is more efficient. Efficient for them, efficient for us, the readers, who don’t have to scan a bunch of repeated info to get to the tiny bit of new information that’s relevant.

  • Grey Lock

    Hard pass on a $1300 bet that it will work.

    My Kickstarter edition of the KAT Loco ($130) is gather dust – never worked right, so I won’t be giving them 10x the money…

    • Renzo V

      more people need to see your comment, this is nothing more than a katloco with a slider in place stand

  • cardioplay

    I’m going to chime in here. This product from Kat VR is possibly better, but not even close to good enough. To even approach reality, a complete VR experience needs to take into account how heavily we rely on our vestibular and proprioceptive systems to confirm what our eyes are seeing. It is vital that our inner ear can sense and verify the accelerations, both rotational and linear, that our eyes are seeing. This is the biggest weakness in VR today. It is a problem researchers have been trying to solve since the 60’s.

    Case in point, I was at GDC in 2014 when Oculus debuted the DK2 and caught up with Palmer Luckey. I asked him what he thought a workable solution to locomotion would be and he said “movement of at least 5 to 6 feet”. I have determined this is just enough distance the user needs to experience the acceleration of walking. So with a 12 foot square space you would essentially be able to experience unlimited walking around your virtual environment and it could feel real.

    These slippery dishes cause motion sickness because they provide NO movement and therefore a huge mismatch in what the eyes are seeing and the vestibular system is reporting. To make matters worse, they allow sprinting! Even all the omni-directional treadmills depicted in Ready Player One would be huge vomit inducers. This applies to all the other devices that have come about to allow us to move our feet and virtually locomote as well.

    I will borrow and old saying from the high performance automotive world that applies here, “there’s no replacement for displacement”! This is why room scale works. As we walk about the space, that displacement is felt by our vestibular and other motion sensing systems.

    You can’t deny physics folks. Our bodies are highly tuned to expertly interact within the physics of our word.

    If you were to ask me, (and you didn’t) I would urge you to wait and not spend you money on something that physics proves does not work.

    I personally have been working on this problem for a decade and finally have a great solution I’m excited to share…soon, a bipedal acceleration simulator. From squat to sprint, I think your’e going to like it. A lot!

    Robert Beal
    aXsimVR

    • Oroku Saki

      Google turned up absolutely nothing on aXsimVR. So what exactly is it?

      • Robert Beal

        aXsimVR is my company and will be manufacturing this new type of omni-directional treadmill. The technology is not released yet. The prototype is close and a video is planned showing the effectiveness of the technology using accelerometer data while moving in a virtual environment.

    • “Roomscale Plus” in early 2017, completely impractical for consumers, but a vestibular and proprioceptive feast for those taking part.

      Since then I’ve attended many LBE venues with backpack PC’s and Optitrack, the actual body movement giving that crucial physical feedback for a convincing experience

      But standing still driving locomotion with a joystick, it’s horribly unconvincing for me (camera on wheels); I’ll always prefer roomscale gaming to free locomotion. So much information coming from the ankles!

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8051f58456fe0c7c763b3627587f7f83ebcfcd56e3c0e554d48fefaa3e779b08.jpg

    • Beri

      Sliding or running it does not matter, you are missing the point…
      running on a gym treadmill is not natural either, nor is playing guitar,
      using mouse or typing on a keyboard… you use it ,you learn it , your brain remembers it and it becomes natural like everything else… the main thing for me is that you are safely strapped protected from falling whilst able to fully use your
      body movement , I know way too well what is like to loose balance and fall whilst in VR and hurt yourself….2nd you don’t need a whole room just a place in the
      corner of your room! and the whole point is you can use your feet to move
      inside the game even if it is not 100 % natural! as i said neither using computer mouse is natural yet we do it every day!

  • Maven

    Would love to see another Oculur Rift on KickStarter, but this time with 3k x 3k, 180 FOV, wireless, 5G, than another nonsense gadget.