Virtuix announced that it finished shipping Omni units to Kickstarter backers and is now delivering its treadmills to U.S. pre-order customers.
In 2013, Virtuix founder and CEO Jan Goetgeluk took to Kickstarter to help fund the creation of his new invention: an omnidirectional treadmill for VR gaming that he called the Omni. To get the project off the ground, Virtuix needed $150,000. By the end of the campaign, the company managed to raise $1.1 million. And thus began the arduous task of building and delivering more than 3,200 Omni treadmills. Then, as if that weren’t big enough a task, Virtuix started accepting pre-orders for the Omni in August 2013.
When Virtuix launched its Kickstarter campaign, it estimated that backers would have their kits by January 2014, but that proved to be an unattainable goal. The Omni design went through several revisions before Virtuix signed off on the product, and the company was almost two years behind schedule when it hand-delivered the first Omni in December 2015. Mass-produced units didn’t land stateside until the Fall of 2016.
Shortly after the first container of Omni units landed at Virtuix’s warehouse, the company canceled all international orders, citing “unfeasible” shipping logistics due to the size of the packaging (it comes in a wooden crate). Even with no international consumer orders, it took Virtuix more than eight months to fulfill rewards for its Kickstarter backers. People who ordered on the last day would've waited four years for their Omni.
Waiting four years for a product that isn’t guaranteed to come is one thing. Waiting four years for a product you pre-ordered is another. Virtuix had an obligation to fulfill its customer’s orders in the order that they came in, which meant that all Kickstarter backers would receive the product before customers that ordered directly through the company’s website. Now that the Kickstarter shipments are out of the way, Virtuix is busy sending units to its pre-order customers. The company didn’t reveal the number of orders it’s fulfilled, but it did say shipments are underway.
Virtuix cut off international consumer sales, but it still supports international commercial installations. Several VR arcades around the world have invested in Omni installations, and Virtuix is actively searching for distribution partners around the world.
The company recently signed deals for commercial Omni distribution in Germany and France. Nous GmbH now owns the Virtuix Omni distribution rights for the German market, and Immersion Motion Solutions (IMS) will handle distribution for all of France.
Nous GmbH and IMS join Turkey-based Ortombo as European Virtuix distributors. Virtuix also has representation in Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and Mexico. The company doesn’t have distribution points in Canada and Australia yet. You can find a full list of distributors here.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.