Virtuix, the creators of the Virtuix Omni treadmill, posted an update to customers yesterday stating that they won’t be fulfilling pre-orders to customers outside the United States. According to the company, trying to ship the 80kg (175 lbs) square meter box the Omni comes in to non-U.S. customers “has proven naive and unfeasible.”

Originally launched in 2013, the Omni Kickstarter raised an impressive $1.1M, becoming the most successful non-headset VR peripheral on the crowdfunding platform to date. Allowing you to walk in any direction while staying physically stationary thanks to a special pair of shoes and a low-friction, concave platform, the Omni gives users the ability to explore VR with their own two feet.

Selling for an early bird price of $349 on Kickstarter and later a pre-order price of $699, the Omni promised to “ship anywhere in the world” at a variable price depending on where you lived. At the time of the Kickstarter, a $60-$90 range for was cited for doorstep delivery of the standard Omni for U.S.-based customers, while shipping fees topped out at $250 to ship to Western Europe and up to $600 for the Middle East and South Africa.

The company will be automatically issuing full refunds to anyone outside the United States plus an extra 3% per year compounded monthly. Virtuix says they hope to ship to international customers at some point in the future, however in the meantime they’ll be focusing on the domestic consumer market and the international commercial market such as VR arcades and family entertainment centers.

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“The Omni’s production cost grew to more than three times our initial estimate,” the company explains in the update. “Logistics became equally complicated. The Omni ships in a large 48” x 43” box (123cm x 110cm) on a wooden pallet and comes with additional packages for Omni shoes and other accessories.”

“The hardest part of fulfillment is not the initial delivery of the Omni and various accessories (albeit costly and complicated), but complying with international regulations and the global shipping and storing of replacement parts necessary to effectively support a range of geographically diverse customers.”

We’ve included the full update posted to pre-order customers below:


Hello,

When we launched our Omni Kickstarter campaign in June 2013, our dream was to ship Omnis to our passionate VR community all over the world. At that time, the Omni was still in the form of a wooden prototype made in our garage. Over the last three years and with your support, we converted the Omni to a final product that can be produced and shipped in large quantities. The Omni has become a beautiful and robust device that has all the functionality we deemed essential: accommodating players safely and comfortably up to 285lbs (130kg) and with a variable height of up to 6’ 5” (195cm), easy assembly of the product with an updated one-piece base, and fully de-coupled locomotion tracking thanks to integrated sensors in the Omni shoes and ring.

As we focused on product quality and user-friendliness, the Omni transformed from a simple prototype to a complex machine with more than 200 custom parts, several printed circuit boards, an intricate height adjustment mechanism, and a durable form factor that increased the weight of the Omni to 175 pounds (80kg). The Omni’s production cost grew to more than three times our initial estimate. Logistics became equally complicated. The Omni ships in a large 48” x 43” box (123cm x 110cm) on a wooden pallet and comes with additional packages for Omni shoes and other accessories. The hardest part of fulfilment is not the initial delivery of the Omni and various accessories (albeit costly and complicated), but complying with international regulations and the global shipping and storing of replacement parts necessary to effectively support a range of geographically diverse customers.

In the last few months we have explored cost effective options to get the Omni distributed and serviced worldwide, which has become increasingly difficult and expensive given the Omni’s transformation to a high-end entertainment device. After much internal debate and soul-searching, we have concluded that as a small U.S. based startup, we unfortunately do not have the resources to deliver and service units in every country. Our dream of shipping the Omni to customers all over the world has proven naive and unfeasible. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to only deliver units to our U.S. home market and issue refunds to our customers outside of the U.S. Internationally, our goal is to work with distributors for commercial markets such as VR arcades and family entertainment centers where logistics and customer support channels are more established.

We regret to inform you that we will not be able to deliver your Omni unit to you at this time, and that we will offer you a full refund of your pre-order plus an interest amount of 3% per year, compounded monthly. We realize this offers little consolation after you committed financially and emotionally to the Omni for several years. No words can adequately express our appreciation for your generous and long-standing support, without which we would not be here today. We assure you that we have not given up on our dream. We will continue our efforts to expand our distribution markets, and we hope one day to be able to deliver an Omni to you. However, we do not deem it appropriate to hold on to your funds until that time. Along with our refund, please accept our sincere apologies.

To process your refund including interest, we require the email address that is linked to your PayPal account (PayPal is currently the only way we can refund). Please reply to this message with your PayPal account’s email address. We will then process your refund right away. Because we have a long list to work through, the refund process will take several weeks to complete. Please keep in mind that we may not be able to get back to you for a while should you have any questions.

Our process from Kickstarter campaign to delivering a hardware product has been very humbling. At the start of any journey it’s not always exactly clear where you might end up. We’d like to thank you for embarking on this journey with us and for all your support along the way. We are working hard to bring the Omni to your country, and we hope to see you again in the future.

Best regards,
The Virtuix Team

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  • Firestorm185

    Whoo… that’s going to be a hard hit for people not living here in America. Ouch.

  • cefizelj gnom

    Yeah that’s right, by law you need to have local warehousing of spare parts and offer services relating to guarantee claims, etc. That’s a pretty big blow.

  • Kijutsu

    Don’t be naive, this had been the plan for quite a while. They used the sales to get investors money and then simply needed to dump the customers that are unprofitable.

    They got a cheap loan and higher than possible, in the US alone, orders to show interest. Now that they have the Chinese market and enough demand the time is right to dump us.

    How I championed this thing… foolish.

    Were they really sad/sorry about this they could A: give us our money back and a voucher for a future Omni whenever/if ever they start selling overseas at original price or B: Give people the money that the Omni is worth now, THAT is were my pledge went after all.

    • VR Cat

      The plan was always to ship to international backers. Some of the early beta units went overseas. This wouldn’t have been carried out unless there was a plan to service Omnis in those areas. Sadly it proved unfeasible for a small company.

  • Maarten DB

    Too bad US only, as the founder and CEO is a Belgian and I would have loved to have this product here in Europe.

  • Mane Vr

    devs would be dumb to support these treadmills there r less then 1/2 a mill vive and rift out there and of those out there I would say less than 5% will get this. there is no point in wasting money figuring out how to use this

    • Rogue_Transfer

      They don’t require dev support – they are seen as a standard joystick to the operating system. Thus, any game that supports joystick control can use them.

      Basically, you walk in a direction, it sends the speed in X & Y directions. It doesn’t send actual foot positions.

      • Mane Vr

        ok then for those who want this go for it. I admit I didn’t know that so thanks for the info. not my think tho I just want to sit and relax when I and gaming

  • hazdude

    KAT Walk backers just got an update last week, specifically mentioning they’d be shipping to global backers. No news on when a home product is going to be available to everyone else ( there’s rumours of a commercial package in China), but at least KAT VR have got the product, can afford to ship (at what must be a loss), and are fulfilling their pledge to kickstarter backers.

    Omni clearly overpromised, but I still think it’s pretty cynical to keep all the dedicated fans on board as free publicity/hype builders, when they knew they wouldn’t be delivering on their orders.

    • DiGiCT Ltd

      No rumours, can buy in online shop.
      Not sure if they still deliver it but seems the shop still accept orders.

      https://item.jd.hk/1963129552.html

      Eventually their production might even be in China after all..

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I’m a bit skeptical about KAT (even though it’s still the one that I think might be the best option for now), their site was serving malware a while back, and there doesn’t seem to be any information (like video’s) which are recent, most is like a year old.. But I’ll wait to see reviews by backers who actually got their model in.

      • hazdude

        yeah according to the update they didn’t have any English speakers before, but now seem to, so there should be proper information and videos coming soon I think

  • David Bridgland

    This is sad for VR generally, and is another Kickstarter project that hasn’t delivered as promised.

    Wizdish, based in the UK, though has been developing and delivering VR treadmills for
    over 5 years to customers like Nissan, Wells Fargo and The British Army. In fact, our 3rd sale was to Jan Goetgeluk in 2012 who took our product and went on to set up Virtuix and raise over $1m in 2013 for the Omni.

    The main difference is that you slide on the Wizdish ROVR, with both feet on the ground. It means you don’t need a harness and it is incredibly light. The whole kit is just 15kg.

    Running on the Omni may look right, but doesn’t feel right – IMO. Sliding on the ROVR may look wrong, but feels very right. It’s like ice skating. Just ask the 30,000+ members of the public who have tried it at public events and trade shows.

    In short the ROVR is cheaper, lighter and easier to use than any other VR treadmill, and most importantly, it is available today.

    See http://www.wizdish.com for more information.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/803006e72f2a2997f4ff273c8ac95c4b3611873c222e2247847c3cd8e1464b23.jpg

    • VR Cat

      A treadmill that lets you run hands-free doesn’t feel right, but a treadmill in which you cannot run at all does feel right? And you expect people to believe that? Please give your shameless self promotion a rest.

      • David Bridgland

        This is a very unbiased review of our product at EGX 2016.
        https://youtu.be/mUafYr6dYAQ.
        Ian and Chris from eurogamer.net started out as very sceptical at first, but after having a go playing VR Pacman came away saying “it’s very good” and “its worth a try” (at 3:49). They did also say “it’s a bit daft”, though that could be said about most of VR from the spectator’s point of view.

        • Bryan Ischo

          I’d say that neither the Omni your product really convince me that they’re must-have devices for VR, or really even great solutions for adding body movement immersion, however, your product looks incredibly more practical than the Omni in almost every way, and I think has a much better chance of being a fun add-on for certain games. You really should do an ice skating demo/game though.

          BTW all of the above is completely uninformed opinion as I have never tried any of these devices.

          • neil beech

            You wouldn’t happen to know Mr wizidish by chance?

        • neil beech

          “its worth a try” goodness me that is high praise. Or what he really ment was, It’s worth a try if you’ve got absolutely nothing else to do.

        • TerribleTs

          I’m late to seeing this but am really a fan of this product. I could see a greater potential if the rails were a bit higher and cushioned so you didn’t necessarily have to use your hands for fear of falling down. Since I’m in the U.S., I probably won’t get a chance to try it in person but would really like to see how this grows. This looks like a lot of fun if it can be used in wider VR applications.

      • VR Dog

        Hmmm – me thinks the VR Cat my have a little of his own shame to share – eh kitty? Time to take off those glasses and let us know your true identity. Who knows, we may even find you quite Virtuous. Woof.

        • neil beech

          Your an idiot.

      • neil beech

        I agree. The wizdish is a useless piece of junk and in my opinion dangerous.

    • Mark Batcheler

      I’m intrigued David.

      I am one of the people let down by Virtuix and until now I’d not heard of this product.

      I see that you are the CFO of wizdish and so I have to assume that your opinion is biased in favour of your own product, however, I’d love to give it a try and be proven wrong.

      Can you tell me where I can try this in the UK as I’d like to try one before potentially purchasing.

      Thanks

      • David Bridgland

        We are at unbound London tomorrow and Thursday 7-8 December http://unbounddigital.co/unbound-london-2016, demonstrating the ROVR. We can try to get you in for a quick go. Otherwise contact us. We are based along the M40 to Oxford.

        • Mark Batcheler

          Those dates aren’t hugely ideal but I’ll get in touch :)

          Thanks

      • neil beech

        Wouldn’t bother my friend. The wizdish is ridiculously over priced (for what it is) and is laughable. More importantly, dam right dangerous! Leave well alone.

    • DiGiCT Ltd

      The way you solve the shoe part is better as omni.
      Ice scating, well it still can be fine.
      But the thing i really cant accept is holding a rail in a game all the time, it brakes immersion big time.
      On the other hanf for a game with controllers like rift and vive this is going to be a pain.
      The movement tech is good, just the way you need to be in it is not, it just limits the kinda games you can play.

      • David Bridgland

        Once you’ve got used to the shoes and the dish, you don’t need to hold on. See this clip of a player with a gun controller. Practice makes perfect.
        https://youtu.be/IKH6Z1oscH0

    • Daniel Kennard

      What kind of API support do you guys offer? I had a number of (now shelved) projects in the pipeline that would have required an Omni and the Wizdish has me intrigued.

      EDIT – Just seen that you only go up to a size 12 on the shoes, and I’m 14.5. Which is a shame

      • Mr. New Vegas
        • Daniel Kennard

          Yeah, I saw the overshoes but an extra £210 (plus vat) on top of the base £600 is a deal-breaker for me

          • Andrew Jakobs

            yeah, if it were like 10 pair, then it would justify the price, but 210 for only one pair? hell I already thought 110 pounds for the regular pair was way WAY too much..

    • neil beech

      Stop trying to sell your crap off the back of somebody else’s crap.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      my god 110 / 210 pounds for a pair of f-ing shoes? what a ripoff.

  • How rude!

  • DiGiCT Ltd

    Very stupid move they made, this device will be made by someone else and even might be improved, so they eventually will lose their sales oppertunity in future.

    For arcade this device is not fit at all, as who want to wear smelly shoes which been used by hundreds of other people before ??!

    At the end tose tratmills are also limited, as in a real fps wargame you also wnat to go on your knees, duck and prone.
    Those postions are impossible in it.
    Free roomscale is still the best experience, maybe limited on how far but that the only thing that feels so right.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      for arcades they’ll propably use slipcovers you can put over your regular shoes. But then again, have you ever been to a bowlinghall, there you also have to wear shoes worn by hundreds of other people..
      That treadmill is limited, but there are already others that will let you go down to your knees and duck.. prone is only for the really large treadmill, and at the moment I’ve only seen one where that’s actually possible..
      to me ‘free roomscale’ is pretty limited, but as I said, there is a specific treadmill that’s big enough to have you do both, but it requires a lot of space..

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        Can you show the resources for better ones.
        Yeah I went bowling and the shoe part let me never go back again. :)

    • AmericanHero

      People have been wearing smelly shoes at bowling alleys for a very long time. But the omni design isn’t the greatest for the fact that you can’t go prone. I just find it crap that somebody hasn’t figured out a decent solution yet. I guess I’ll have to get to work on my own.

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        Bowling does not let you sweat like exciting vr
        Bowling you wear shoes to protect the lane floor, it’s different
        The prone part 100% agree

  • Sponge Bob

    what a stupid thing to promote

    but the most stupid of all VR Kickstarters (now cancelled) was Project Nautilus – underwater vr experience
    like you swim in your pool and see sharks around…

  • egamruf

    It’s an obvious cash grab. The international backers have been asking for a coupon that would allow them to purchase the Omni at KS prices when (and if) the product is available in their country. Virtuix refuse to grant it.

    Others have asked if they can simply get it shipped to a mailing company, and then get it posted to themselves. Virtuix have refused this too.

    Virtuix has simply realised it can make more money by selling current production units to US backers (who might more-easily take legal action) and cancel all international backer’s orders. There’s nothing more to it. It’s a foul move by a company which has used international backers as a business overdraft for three years.

  • Piotr Filinski

    At least Virtuix is shipping their product locally. I have backed Virtualizer.(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1259519125/cyberith-virtualizer-immersive-virtual-reality-gam)
    Their communication with the backers gone worse and worse over time up to the point when we started to considering suing them. What they do is: they sell they product to businesses but not sending it to backers.

  • May as well license/franchise it and let others sell in their home country?

  • MainFragger

    Either way, once you know you are making money off of this product, just open facilities for manufacturing in countries that are viable for marketing. Are you telling me you don’t think you could sell the crap out of this in China and Japan?

  • flamaest

    Looks like Virtuix is starting to ship its OMNI USA orders… Slowly…