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. To make up for having customers’ funds in our possession for such a long time, we will supplement each refund with an interest payment of 3% annually (compounded monthly) on the funds held by us. 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 international customers’ funds until that time. Along with our refund, please accept our sincere apologies. We will contact all international customers via email with further details and instructions.
For customers in the U.S., we will also issue refunds upon request plus the interest payment of 3% per year (compounded monthly). We understand that circumstances change, and our product has changed as well. The Omni is quite heavy, comes in a large box (230lbs / 105kg) on a wooden pallet, and delivering the unit to your home will cost around $200, which is much higher than we initially estimated. Therefore, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to request a refund of your pledge.
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 each of you for embarking on this journey with us and for all your support along the way. We will continue to work hard to bring natural locomotion to VR and enable the kind of VR experience we’ve always dreamed of.
Jan and the Virtuix team