Tremendous-Interview with Jan Goetgeluk, the CEO of Virtuix, concerning the story of his firm, the Omni One, and the way forward for VR

As we speak I’m very proud to publish an interview with Jan Goetgeluk, the CEO of Virtuix. Virtuix is likely one of the first VR startups I obtained to listen to about after I began with VR. I used to be doing full-body VR with Kinects at Immotionar, when Virtuix began its Kickstarter marketing campaign and generated numerous hype. I nonetheless keep in mind their first trailer with Palmer Luckey making an attempt their system. They have been a competitor for my startup at the moment and so they have been doing one thing very cool.

Now, after a few years, many difficulties, and lots of battles we each fought, I’ve lastly had the pleasure to talk with the pinnacle of that firm, and praise him for the lengthy highway he’s been by way of. As a result of it’s outstanding that however all the issues, Virtuix remains to be right here, and has simply began transport the primary models of Omni One, the primary Virtuix system that goals on the client market.

You’ll find my interview with Jan (whom I thank for his availability) within the video right here beneath. We talked concerning the lengthy story of Virtuix, its new product, the Omni One, and the way forward for VR. I’m additionally reporting a (barely edited) transcript with the video timestamps for individuals who want studying to watching. Take pleasure in!

Table of Contents

I’m very excited to be right here at present with you Jan Goetgeluk, the CEO of Virtuix. It’s a bit emotional for me as a result of we began kind of the identical years in working in VR and we each labored on full physique and pure actions within the digital worlds. It’s a bit like we’ve at all times been a bit linked, as a result of Virtuix was one of many first cool VR tasks I found. (0:00)

Thanks. Yeah, it’s been a protracted highway. That was ten years in the past. We have been early.

We have been younger and glad, earlier than going into 23 winters of VR like now. So these have been the great instances. Since you’ve got this lengthy historical past, are you able to inform us the story of Virtuix. How has it began? (0:57)

Yeah, I at all times joke about this with our crew. Our greatest accomplishment so far is that we survived. Quite a lot of corporations didn’t survive among the many ones that began with us in these early days, so 2013. We began with a Kickstarter marketing campaign method again within the day after we did a $1,000,000 Kickstarter marketing campaign in 2013. It was one of many greatest campaigns at the moment, there was numerous pleasure.

VR was speculated to be, you realize, the following huge factor by 2015, with thousands and thousands of headsets shipped within the subject. And naturally, it took a very long time. It took for much longer than most individuals anticipated. We truly needed to pivot to the industrial market simply to outlive. We refunded all our Kickstarter backers and pre-orders with curiosity and pivoted to the industrial market the place we did fairly effectively. We introduced out two merchandise within the industrial area, the Omni Professional after which Omni Enviornment, which is our e-sports attraction for industrial leisure, for giant leisure venues like Dave and Buster’s. Now we have an providing for that market and now we’ve come full circle. Now we’ve simply began transport our third product, which is the Omni One, which is our first Omni designed for the house, for shoppers. So we’re again to the unique imaginative and prescient we had from the beginning, an Omni system for the house, and that’s what we simply began transport this 12 months in in beta for now to our buyers. But it surely’s right here, it exists and we’re very enthusiastic about it.

I keep in mind when your product got here out on Kickstarter, everybody was dreaming about having this at dwelling. However then, at a sure level, folks began being disenchanted as a result of everybody realized it was not attainable. Why did you must pivot? What was the issue? (2:53)

You recognize, the demand from the patron area wasn’t that prime in these early days. The patron marketplace for VR simply wasn’t there but. Know-how was a problem. We couldn’t bundle our system as an entire system since you at all times wanted a PC to attempt VR, there have been numerous cables concerned and so forth. Now the Omni One is an entire system the place we will bundle the treadmill with a standalone VR headset. That’s positively been a giant breakthrough in VR for all of us additionally as a result of we will bundle the treadmill with the standalone VR headset and provide the entire system to the top buyer. This wasn’t attainable again then.

Additionally after we began creating the product, it turned out to be extra of a industrial product. Prices have been larger than we anticipated. It was very sturdy, laborious to ship and again then with Kickstarter…you realize you stated we have been younger and glad, and likewise younger and naïve… Kickstarter simply provided your product to everyone around the globe. Again then you definitely couldn’t filter out completely different nations. So sure, “right here it’s, everyone on the earth can have this, this huge product for the house”. Properly, we have been naive, simply wasn’t attainable to start out transport merchandise like that all around the world and supporting them as a small firm. So there was numerous issues that simply weren’t doable. It simply wasn’t practical to ship a product to houses around the globe at the moment for a lot of causes.

After which we needed to make the tough choice. Sadly, we needed to refund our backers and a few of them have been very upset nonetheless to this present day.

A lot of our backers are actually upset, even calling us a rip-off. However wait, this isn’t true. We refunded folks with curiosity, so we tried what we may to be right. But it surely’s disappointing, was disappointing for me as effectively as a result of we had a really vibrant and robust group. I actually beloved our group after which having to say “look, sorry, can’t ship proper now. Now we have to focus commercially first, simply to outlive”.  That was a tough choice, nevertheless it’s a call we would have liked to make… and right here we’re at present.

Since we’re speaking concerning the Omni one, do you need to inform us a few of its options? What are the brand new issues that individuals can discover on this system? (5:52)
Omni One trailer

The Omni One presents an unmatched freedom of motion. So that you now not held up by the assist ring like within the Omni Professional. You’ll be able to totally kneel, and do crouch jumps. It presents full freedom of motion, which is de facto neat. It’s additionally optimized for shoppers. So it’s very straightforward to place collectively, no instruments are wanted to assemble it or disassemble it. It rolls round. It’s designed for the residing rooms. It seems prefer it matches into an inside. So it’s optimized for dwelling use.

What’s the headset that it really works with? (6:40)

We’re transport with a Pico headset, as a result of Pico is our headset accomplice. Proper now, we’re transport with the Pico Neo 3 Professional. Pico 4 just isn’t obtainable but within the US and PICO has been a terrific accomplice of ours. The headset is personalized for us. So once you activate the headset, it exhibits Virtuix. So it has our software program on it, our recreation retailer, and we work hand in hand with PICO to customise their headset for our utility.

Does it work with different headsets? Can I join it with one other system? (7:13)

Sure you may. The Omni One is an entire system, nevertheless it’s not a closed system, so you may nonetheless join it to a PC and play PC-based VR video games with your personal headset if you happen to’d prefer to.

And what about Quest 2 or Pico 4?

Quest 2 is a closed system, so we will’t make our treadmill work with it.

The Pico 4… it’s an excellent query. You recognize we’ll probably ship with a Pico 4 for ourselves at a sure level, however once more, a model personalized and optimized for our system. However I’m undecided at this level if you happen to can join it to a daily Pico 4. We’re certain it’s appropriate with PC, however with different standalone headsets it’s not plug and play usually. So we’ve obtained to have a look at that.

I want to know what video games can be found, as a result of possibly somebody is watching this video and want to play Half Life Alyx or Gorilla Tag with it… (8:26)

We’re engaged on that proper now. We haven’t introduced our launch titles but, however you may assume that each one the favored VR video games or any good VR recreation that has a locomotion side or a motion side could be a terrific match to play with the Omni. So we’re actively working with these builders to convey their video games to our retailer, to our platform, which isn’t numerous work. Now we have an SDK software program improvement package, which is pretty straightforward to implement, so it’s not that a lot work for builders to.

Okay, so if some developer is studying this interview, possibly may contemplate porting his/her personal recreation to the Omni. However please, inform me, normally what’s the kind of content material that individuals like probably the most? Is it FPS video games or health or what? (9:20)

It’s somewhat little bit of all the pieces. I imply, actually first individual shooters are a blast with the Omni as a result of they’re laborious to play with out the Omni. It’s laborious to play a shooter recreation by standing nonetheless utilizing a thumbstick… it will get folks sick… It simply just isn’t what you envisioned to do. In order that’s traditionally been a terrific match for us, however actually any recreation… and even past video games, each leisure utility that makes use of motion the place you’re strolling round is simply an unimaginable expertise on our system… so the entire above.

And the way a lot area does it occupy at dwelling? And the way a lot does it weight? Is it one thing I can convey on my shoulders from the grocery store or would I want some type of assist? (10:27)

It ships in a giant field. It’s actually not one thing you carry in your shoulder. It’s like a treadmill in your dwelling, that type of product. However you may transfer it round. You’ll be able to see that it’s not huge, it matches in a house. It’s about let’s say 4 toes diameter. So in meters about 1 meter, 20 centimeters diameter. Perhaps you want about 1 and a half meters throughout to have sufficient area to play, however the system itself is about 1.2 meters in diameter.

What’s the function of this system you’re most happy with? (11:15)

It’s an excellent query. After I got down to make an omnidirectional treadmill again in 2012, I had three standards for myself.

One was that it had to slot in a front room. Two was that it needed to be reasonably priced, considerably reasonably priced to shoppers, and three was that it needed to work effectively, it needed to provide the impression, a minimum of to your mind, that you simply’re strolling round inside VR.

And that’s what I’m most proud about: it’s that with the Omni, you’re strolling round inside that digital world. And I discover it unimaginable. I would like you begin utilizing the Omni. It’s very laborious to return to VR with out it since you’re so used to simply strolling round in VR, then immediately having to push a button on a joystick is like “Overlook about it” So yeah, it’s cool.

You simply went for the crowfunding route. Why you went this manner and never by way of VCs or Kickstarter once more? (12:16)

Really we’ve completed the entire above. You recognize, we’ve got enterprise buyers as effectively. Mark Cuban is a giant investor and we raised over $35 million so far from buyers, together with VCs, together with huge buyers.

But additionally fairness crowdfunding it’s at all times been a terrific match for us. We love doing it. We love having our group as buyers in our firm. We love having our clients be buyers in order that they’re not simply clients. They’re actually evangelists that imagine what we do as an organization and are a part of our journey, a part of our story. So we love doing it and it’s a terrific match for us as a result of numerous our followers and gamers need to put money into our firm.

And in order that’s why we do fairness crowdfunding. It’s a good way for us to boost cash as a {hardware} firm. You want numerous capital. It’s very capital intensive. In order that’s why we raised some huge cash over time, together with with fairness crowdfunding. Actually, we’re doing a marketing campaign proper now. For any of your viewers who need to maybe put money into Virtuix or are interested by studying extra, you may go to, and we’re at present doing our sequence B spherical.

And one factor we’re doing is that our buyers get a reduction on the Omni One in the event that they need to purchase the product and they’re their first in line to get the product as effectively. So if you happen to make investments $1000 you get a 30% low cost price $780 on Omni One. It’s a pleasant perk for our buyers who change into a part of our group and our journey forward.

And the way a lot do you ask folks within the crowdfunding marketing campaign?

The minimal is $1000, the minimal.

So everybody that’s obsessed with your product can change into an investor, that’s cool. I’ve heard that now you began transport some models already to buyers… (14:35)

Yeah, we’re. We began transport beta models to our investor group, as a result of our buyers are the primary in line to get models. And so we’re first doing a beta program for our buyers. Over a thousand of our buyers have utilized for a beta unit. And so we simply began transport what name beta models. In fact, it’s {hardware}… as soon as the fashions are made, there’s not a lot change you can also make. So it’s not that the product is gonna change drastically from the place it’s at present, however we name it beta. The software program, the video games are nonetheless within the beta section.

So we’re transport and we’re delivering Omni One to houses as we converse.

What if somebody doesn’t need to make investments however simply to purchase a unit? (15:28)

It’s not obtainable but for basic sale, once more as a result of we give our buyers the possibility to get one first and we’ve got hundreds of buyers that need one. So it’ll hold us busy for certain by way of the remainder of the 12 months. Normal launch availability to most of the people is coming generally subsequent 12 months.

First or second half of the 12 months?

Depends upon what number of buyers need a unit, it depends upon them, as a result of we’re gonna fulfill that demand first.

I want to have the chance to attempt it at some point. Getting again to the previous, you grew loads in location-based VR, organizing additionally tournaments with huge prizes. I want to speak a bit about location-based VR as a result of it’s normally a sector we neglect, particularly after the COVID appeared to have killed it. How are issues going for Virtuix on location-based VR and the way is the market usually? (16:16)

That’s been our key marketplace for the previous couple of years with our flagship product Omni Enviornment, which is an e-sports attraction. It contains built-in e-sports contests with a $100,000 prize pool that we sponsor. Each time folks play, they’ll win actual cash by way of weekly and month-to-month tournaments which can be simply constructed within the system. We offered that system to huge leisure venues and that’s particularly for the US market. The US has hundreds of these household leisure facilities and large chains, like Dave and Buster’s, Sky Zone, you identify it, trampoline parks, bowling chains, you identify it. That’s our core market and that market has completed very well. 2020 with the pandemic was actually laborious. However then after 2020, it was one huge social gathering. So many venues had their finest 12 months ever in 2021 and in 2022. So it’s been a terrific marketplace for us and that market is alive.

So is the market again to pre-pandemic ranges? (18:09)

The larger leisure venues had their finest 12 months ever in 2021, after the pandemic, and 2022 was additionally superb, so they only had two unimaginable years. It’s been nice for that market right here.

As an entrepreneur, as somebody that creates a product, is it the identical in your engaged on the shoppers and the placement primarily based VR market? What satisfies you extra, what excites you extra? (18:39)

I’m engaged on a client product. I’d say it’s the most enjoyable as a result of it has the largest scale. I imply, the Omni One can change into a multibillion greenback enterprise. We expect we will convey Omni One to thousands and thousands of houses around the globe. There’s a lot demand for, a lot pleasure about it. That’s thrilling. Engaged on a client product is enjoyable… engaged on a industrial product is enjoyable too.

But it surely’s completely different and positively client VR and industrial VR are very completely different. The video games, for instance, are in fact very completely different for LBE or client use. So there’s numerous variations, nevertheless it’s enjoyable, numerous engaged on merchandise and constructing merchandise. It’s one of the crucial gratifying issues you are able to do in your profession.

What are the variations between a recreation made for the patron market and one made for the location-based one? (19:56)

Simply the size of it, to start with. Omni Enviornment experiences or video games are about 7 minutes every. For a industrial expertise, we’ve discovered it to be the candy spot. It’s 7 minutes and you must take out all the pieces. That’s tough, proper? Every little thing must be straightforward to play, laborious to grasp as a result of you’ve got 5 minutes to offer someone an excellent time and that may be someone who’s barely performed video video games ever.

So you may’t have any menu methods, can’t have any tough management methods, you must simplify all of it. However then you definitely nonetheless must construct within the design sufficient depth in order that an skilled participant nonetheless finds it difficult and nonetheless needs to play it many instances, like with Omni Enviornment.

For us, it’s all about repeatability. A few of our high groups have performed over 300 instances, so there’s gamers which have performed over 300 instances, which is kind of unimaginable. In order that requires very good recreation design to make a recreation interesting to play so many instances whereas additionally interesting to someone who performs it for the primary time and doesn’t know what he’s doing. So it’s not straightforward to do. And I believe we’ve got an excellent system. We found out how to try this.

Watching movies of individuals enjoying with a VR treadmill is cool and lots of of them have change into viral. However every time I attempted one in every of them I had at all times the impression of sliding on ice, not of strolling. Why is that this? And can we ever remedy this challenge? (21:21)
virtuix omni one player
An individual enjoying with the Omni One (Picture by Virtuix)

No, it’s an excellent query. And we’ve got to be very sincere about that. We confused this and everyone who needs to purchase our product, we be certain that they know that, we are saying them to go attempt it first. This isn’t like strolling on the road. It feels completely different. You’re strolling on a concave dish with our design. We’ve tried to make it as straightforward as attainable. Once more, we’re very profitable in industrial leisure. So we’ve got 5 minutes to offer someone an excellent time. So inside 5 minutes, someone has to have the ability to stroll on it and really feel like they’re strolling in VR. It may well’t take days to get a dangle of it, in order that the educational curve must be fairly fast and I believe we nailed that. In any other case we wouldn’t achieve success in these huge leisure venues.

But it surely’s an excellent level, Tony. Now we have to be sincere about that. It’s not like pure strolling. It’s not for everybody very similar to snowboarding just isn’t for everyone or, you realize, some folks. When you’re utterly uncoordinated it’s most likely not for you since you’re gonna be flailing on it. And I already know you’re not going to have an excellent time, as a result of it’s not like strolling on the streets. It takes a while to getting used to and folks which can be extremely coordinated are those that get the dangle of it like that, and so they have a blast. And other people that aren’t coordinated… possibly it’s not for you and we’ve got to be sincere about that.

However do you assume that this drawback may be solved over time? Have you ever completed some R&D to make the strolling sensation extra practical? (23:19)

Properly, I believe that our answer is fairly shut. I’d love so that you can attempt it, Tony, and you may inform me what you assume however the answer we’ve got is the one the place you stroll on a concave low-friction base with low-friction footwear. So it’s by no means going to be like an actual strolling answer, as a result of an actual strolling sensation would require one thing just like the Infinadeck, with shifting belts and motorized belts. And that’s a $60,000 machine, proper?

So sadly, if you happen to wanna make one thing that’s reasonably priced for shoppers and matches in a house, a passive system, and the passive design, I believe is the very best answer. That’s why I selected for that route. However you’re strolling on a concave, low-friction base and if you happen to do it a few times or 3 times, I believe your mind thinks you’re strolling. It appears like strolling and also you’re simply strolling in VR. However there’s that that jiffy of studying curve that it’s good to recover from.

What’s the way forward for your product? I don’t assume you need to cease right here… (24:51)

There’s extra we will add, haptics to the bottom, haptics to the vest… I discover haptics add loads to the VR expertise at an appropriate price. In our case, it already may be inbuilt as effectively. So I believe that’ll be the following addition to make it much more practical and enjoyable.

After which we’ll see from there. Now we have just a few concepts.

Do you assume that this product will ever change into, let’s say, mainstream because the PC? In order that most individuals having a VR headset at dwelling in 10 years from now, they’ll have a strolling treadmill as effectively. (25:28)

It’s my imaginative and prescient as a result of I believe it makes VR so a lot better. It makes VR a lot extra fulfilling to stroll round in VR, no person envisions teleporting in VR or pushing a thumbstick. Individuals envision strolling round in VR, and that’s what our system enables you to do. Once more, it’s not for everyone. You want some area for it. It’s $2600. It’s not tremendous low-cost, so it’s not for everyone. It’s most likely not mainstream like a console.

I believe there’s a giant marketplace for it. I believe many individuals will need to have it. I believe it’s like within the film Prepared Participant One. Not everyone has an solely directional treadmill, however the cool children have one, proper?

That’s a terrific comparability. And usually, what’s your your imaginative and prescient for VR, and the M-word? (26:33)

Properly, I simply learn yesterday that the metaverse is useless…

We are going to put together a funeral later at AWE most likely…

As anticipated, the Metaverse is useless. Right here it’s. You recognize, I knew that final 12 months… that these articles would come out simply round this time. Very predictable. But additionally irrelevant.

In the end, I believe VR is a know-how and a medium that can be broadly utilized in society for leisure, and different purposes as effectively, nevertheless it’s simply so good and it’s solely getting higher. I believe it’s gonna get to a degree the place the colour… the visible Turing check… your mind will now not be capable to discern whether or not you’re watching one thing that’s actual or digital. After which it turns into such a terrific expertise.

I believe VR can be broadly utilized by many individuals every day. I imagine that after which our system enables you to stroll round inside VR, which is I believe even higher.

Let’s say if somebody that’s listening to you possibly needs to do your job or one thing comparable, what are the teachings that will you inform this individual? I imply, all of us have a protracted historical past of, you realize, laborious battles…(27:44)

[Laughing] The primary recommendation is at all times don’t. Don’t do it. Don’t don’t, don’t do this at dwelling . I’ve been working 80 hours, 80 hour-weeks for 10 years. It’s very laborious if you happen to wanna begin a enterprise.

[Laughing] And I say possibly do software program versus {hardware}.

I do software program and belief me, we work loads as effectively. So don’t work laborious. That’s most likely the lesson… I’m joking, in fact

When you do {hardware}, you must understand it’s a protracted highway. However look, I really like what I do. I really like our product. Our crew has been with us for seven, 8, 10 years. You recognize a lot of our crew has been with us since day one and we keep collectively as a result of we imagine in what we do after which we imagine in our product. So on the finish of the day it’s all worthwhile.

Yeah, however do you’ve got some type of life lesson to inform to folks?

I’ve a e-book of life classes…

Decide one.

Oh it’s an excellent one. Work laborious, work laborious. I believe the younger technology appears not desirous to work laborious or they assume they’ll have shortcuts in life. I don’t know. There’s no substitute for exhibiting up and doing issues.

You recognize, concepts are like buses. There’s one each 5 minutes. All people has concepts, however you must execute them. It’s all concerning the execution and pursuing them and dealing laborious and reaching them.

I like the thought of comparability between concepts and buses. That was nice.
So it’s time for my standard final query: in case you have one thing else so as to add… now it’s time to say it! (29:44)

This was a terrific dialog, Tony. I believe we coated most of it. To the folks that need extra info. I’d say go to It summarizes our story so far, Omni One and the highway forward and I’d like to welcome folks as potential shareholders in Virtuix and change into a part of our group and a part of our journey.

I underline once more this invitation. I at all times like to fulfill with folks that actually fought a bit like me, for a few years on this advanced subject. If you are able to do one thing for Virtuix and Jan, in fact, please go to the web site and let’s attempt to construct one thing collectively. That’s additionally what I say daily. Let’s push digital actuality all collectively. So thanks once more in your time. It’s been enjoyable. (30:22)

Thanks a lot, Tony.