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.
“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:
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.
The Virtuix Team