KatVR, the China-based company behind the 2015 Kickstarter-funded KAT Walk VR treadmill, announced last month that a new mini-version of the low-friction VR treadmill would be hitting Kickstarter soon, and that above all it would be “affordable.” Today the company published pre-order prices on the Kat VR website, and it’s unfortunately a bitter pill to swallow: with the lowest early bird discount of 50%, the minimum price is $1500.
A Kat VR spokesperson took to Reddit last week to address consumer concerns, saying “[o]ur target audience is for consumer-use, the price will be fitting,” and that the Kickstarter would roll out “soon” and the Mini would be “affordable.”
Now, the company has published a pre-order price list on their website. Each successive week during the pre-order period sees a price hike between $200-$500:
We’ve reached out to Kat VR to clarify what that means to prospective Kickstarters, as below the price list is a pre-order contact form. At the time of this writing, the company’s Kickstarter is still MIA.
Kat Walk Mini is designed to be smaller and lighter than the 2015-era Kat Walk, and features a number of design changes including a new laser sensor array for lower latency and more responsive foot tracking, a redesigned guide bar system that pivots in place as you turn your body to face the desired direction, and a “high strain shock-absorbing material” in the treadmill’s base. Using low-friction shoes, the system allows you to simulate walking, and even sit down, according to the new informational video linked below. Kat Walk Mini is aiming to support SteamVR-compatible headsets including Vive and Rift, and also PSVR.
The original Kat Walk, a much larger unit, originally ranged between $400-$650 for early bird Kickstarters, although the MSRP is likely much more expensive than that (price available by inquiry only). If Kickstarters aren’t seeing a similar price break when the campaign goes live, then it’s safe to say the company is classing itself out of its target market.