Kat VR, the China-based company behind the 2015 Kickstarter-funded KAT Walk VR treadmill, announced last month that a new mini-version of the low-friction VR treadmill would be hitting Kickstarter soon, and that above all it would be “affordable.” Today the company published pre-order prices on the Kat VR website, and it’s unfortunately a bitter pill to swallow: with the lowest early bird discount of 50%, the minimum price is $1500.
Update (04/13/18): Kat VR announced on its blog that they’re scrapping plans to launch a Kickstarter due to outside funding. “[A]fter some successful cooperations [sic] with our business partners we now have the resources and ability to proceed with the research and development of the KAT Walk mini without the need for crowdfunding.”
A Kat VR spokesperson took to Reddit last week to address consumer concerns, saying “[o]ur target audience is for consumer-use, the price will be fitting,” and that the Kickstarter would roll out “soon” and the Mini would be “affordable.”
Now, the company has published a pre-order price list on their website. Each successive week during the pre-order period sees a price hike between $200-$500:
We’ve reached out to Kat VR to clarify what that means to prospective Kickstarters, as below the price list is a pre-order contact form. At the time of this writing, the company’s Kickstarter is still MIA (see update above).
Kat Walk Mini is designed to be smaller and lighter than the 2015-era Kat Walk, and features a number of design changes including a new laser sensor array for lower latency and more responsive foot tracking, a redesigned guide bar system that pivots in place as you turn your body to face the desired direction, and a “high strain shock-absorbing material” in the treadmill’s base. Using low-friction shoes, the system allows you to simulate walking, and even sit down, according to the new informational video linked below. Kat Walk Mini is aiming to support SteamVR-compatible headsets including Vive and Rift, and also PSVR.
The original Kat Walk, a much larger unit, originally ranged between $400-$650 for early bird Kickstarters, although the MSRP is likely much more expensive than that (price available by inquiry only). If
Kickstarters pre-order customers aren’t seeing a similar price break, then it’s safe to say the company is classing itself out of its target market.