New entertainment center combines exercise and gaming
Exercise and gaming... explore virtual worlds from the comfort of your own home with Virtuix’s Omni One, a complete entertainment system whose 360-degree experience delivers the immersive feeling of physically moving in VR
After transforming how virtual reality enthusiasts can explore new worlds for the commercial market, Virtuix is seeking to take home entertainment to the next level with the launch of Omni One, a consumer version of the Omni, a unique omni-directional treadmill that enables players to walk or run in any direction through their favorite videogames and other virtual environments.
Inspired by the popularity of Omni Pro, a commercial version of the Omni available at more than 500 entertainment venues in 45 countries, Austin-based Virtuix has created Omni One, a home version that’s designed to fit tastefully inside a living room or other place in your home. Compared to Omni Pro, Omni One is lighter, more compact (4-ft. diameter), easy to fold up and store, and allows players unmatched freedom of movement, including crouching, kneeling, and jumping.
Omni One is a complete entertainment system that comes with a standalone VR headset (no PC or cables required) and works straight out of the box, providing a seamless user experience. Omni One will feature its own game store with 30 titles at launch, including Call of Duty and Fortnite style games developed by Virtuix alongside top titles licensed from third parties.
With Omni One, your home becomes a portal into new worlds and gaming adventures like never before. Imagine roaming the intriguing landscapes of your favorite games…striding alongside giants through snow-covered canyons, tracking across battlefields ablaze with dragon fire, or charging into abandoned cities to eradicate mutant hordes as if you were actually there.
“Omni One is like nothing else out there – it’s a breakthrough in omni-directional treadmill technology,” said Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix. “Compared to Omni Pro, Omni One no longer has a support ring. So, it gives users unrestricted freedom of movement, including crouching, squatting, backing up, and even jumping. You essentially become one with the machine.”
Goetgeluk explained the thought behind Omni One: “The thrill of walking around inside videogames and virtual worlds has blown the minds of players at our commercial venues around the world. We’ve built a large and fanatical player community, and our players kept asking us, ‘When can I get this for my home? Where can I buy this?’ This pent-up demand from our fans is what prompted us, last year, to start working on a home product. Given our success in the out-of-home market, we’re uniquely positioned to bring our popular full-body VR experience to millions of homes around the world.”
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Virtuix’s sales of its commercial products, Omni Pro and Omni Arena (a multiplayer version), initially took a hit. In response, the company moved up the launch of Omni One. Initially slated for 2022, Virtuix now aims to bring Omni One to market in the second half of 2021.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed some out-of-home installations, only one order was canceled,” Goetgeluk said. “Sales are now recovering, and installations have resumed. COVID-19 slowed us down in the short term, but on the positive side, it boosted demand for at-home fitness and entertainment products like Omni One. This trend will accelerate our long-term growth.”
Omni One’s features and benefits include:
An Omni-directional treadmill that lets you walk or run in videogames or other virtual worlds, in any direction and at any speed, while occupying only a small amount of floorspace.
It allows unrestricted, full-body movements including crouching, kneeling, and jumping. Safety features keep you from falling or hitting walls or other people.
It’s a complete entertainment system that comes with everything you need, including a cable-free, standalone VR headset (no PC needed).
It’s compact (4-ft. diameter), fits tastefully inside a living room or other place at home, and is easy to fold up and store away.
Omni One’s game store will offer at least 30 games at launch. The games are multiplayer and highly social, so you can play with friends from around the world.
Omni One isn’t just a next-level gaming device, it also keeps you in shape by burning calories while gaming. Think of Omni One as a Peloton bike for gamers (and for parents who want to get their kids off the couch).
“Moving around virtual worlds by pushing buttons on a controller feels unnatural, static, and limiting,” Goetgeluk added. “You can’t experience true virtual reality while sitting down or standing in place. You need to walk around virtual worlds as you do in real life – by using your own feet. With Omni One, everyone can experience the thrill of walking around inside your favorite games.”
Goetgeluk, who holds Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ghent in Belgium, and an MBA degree from Rice University in Houston, came to the United States 14 years ago to pursue the American Dream. While working as an investment banking associate at JPMorgan Chase, he became convinced that virtual reality was set to make a comeback after Microsoft launched the Kinect in late 2010. Goetgeluk began developing the Omni in his spare time, often laboring until the early morning hours. He was looking to create a new kind of gaming experience: one that enables players to walk naturally in VR instead of pushing buttons on a gamepad or keyboard while seated.
In 2013, after two years spent researching, experimenting, and prototyping, Goetgeluk left his finance job and founded Virtuix to bring the Omni to market. Today, led by a management team and advisory board with more than 100 combined years of gaming and hardware industry experience, Virtuix has built an IP portfolio of 14 issued patents and six pending patents covering the Omni’s mechanical design, motion tracking, and game integration.
Backed by Mark Cuban and other major investors, Virtuix has raised $20 million to date and has shipped over $10 million worth of product (3,650 Omni systems) to entertainment venues in 45 countries, including top locations like Dave & Buster’s. Virtuix’s content platform, Omniverse, has hosted more than 1 million plays, and the Omni was even featured in director Steven Spielberg’s film, “Ready Player One.”
By 2022, Virtuix expects to have signed up 1.1 million registered Omni players at commercial venues. This large player community, together with an install base of thousands of commercial Omni Pro systems globally, provides a direct and low-cost sales channel for Omni One.
Virtuix’s mission is to bring its popular gaming experience to millions of homes around the world. “Other VR treadmills on the market merely act like accessories for players who already own a VR headset and gaming PC,” Goetgeluk said. “Omni One is suitable for the mass consumer market, not just for VR enthusiasts and PC gamers.”
For the complete entertainment system that includes a standalone VR headset and operating software for a seamless user experience, Omni One will sell for $1,995 (or $55 per month with a monthly payment plan). This pricing puts Omni One in line with mid-tier gaming PCs and connected fitness gear like a Peloton bike.
For $995, Virtuix will offer a “dev kit” package that comes without a VR headset. The dev kit option allows developers and VR hobbyists to use Omni One together with their own PCs and headsets for development or to play PC-based VR games.
Before selling Omni One to the mass market, Virtuix is launching a Regulation A (“Reg A”) funding campaign to spread awareness of Omni One among consumers, gamers, and the investment community. Reg A is a type of offering that allows anyone to invest in Virtuix and receive shares in the company. As an investor perk, Reg A investors will receive a 20% discount (worth $400) when buying Omni One or, for those who invest in the first week, a 40% discount worth $800. Investors will be first in line to receive their Omni One orders when production starts.