Virtuix's Omni treadmill is very alluring to virtual reality fans who want freedom to walkwithout the fear of tripping over cables or running into walls. However, it's also massive and complex... and that's forcing the company to scale back its ambitions. Virtuix is telling its Kickstarter backers that it's cancelling all Omni pre-orders outside of the US, as the logistics of shipping the treadmill are just too much. It's not just the 175-pound, 48- by 43-inch shipping package that's the problem -- it's honoring regulations and maintaining enough replacement parts to handle a global audience. The initial plans to ship worldwide were "naive and unfeasable," the startup writes.
The company is at least going the distance to compensate international customers who've just had their years-long dreams crushed. In addition to refunding what supporters paid, it's prorating the refunds to the tune of an extra 3 percent per year, compounded monthly. Virtuix isn't ruling out international plans entirely, either. Its international presence will be limited to public spaces like arcades in the near term, but it wants to cater to other countries when it can.
This cancellation is something of an edge case in the crowdfunding world. Most of these startups are shipping far smaller or simpler products that won't face nearly as many headaches. Even so, it's a reminder that crowdfunded projects are frequently full of lofty promises made by entrepreneurs that don't know what their finished product will look like, let alone how they'll get it to customers using limited resources.