Skip to main content

VR treadmill maker Virtuix partners with Hero for Chinese VR rollout

Virtuix, the company behind the virtual-reality treadmill, Omni, has announced a partnership with Chinese game publisher Hero Entertainment. Responsible for enormously popular shooters like Crisis Action, the Chinese game firm is looking to install a number of VR arcade setups around the country, with the Omni as a focal piece of hardware.

The companies won’t be stopping there, though. They’re also looking to push physical esports, utilizing the treadmill to drive first-person shooter competition that also requires real physical exertion.

Related Videos

Hero Entertainment already has a foot in that door thanks to the popularity of some of its games. It also has an affiliate, Hero Sports, which owns and operates the Hero Pro League, China’s biggest mobile Esports league. Virtuix will partner directly with that entity for esports promotion, providing hardware and expertise to help grow the physical esports scene.

Using Hero’s already strong influence within China, the pair of companies have already secured a buyer for Omni hardware. UNIS, the supplier for much of the country’s arcade amusement machines, has pledged to purchase between 5,000 and 10,000 Omni treadmills in order to install them in arcades, malls, and entertainment locations.

“We believe that virtual reality will take off faster and become bigger in China than anywhere else,” said Jan Goetgeluk, Virtuix’s founder and CEO. “With the Hero deal, we are teaming up with China’s premier FPS developer. Their content combined with our Omni motion platform provides an unbeatable Active VR experience that we predict will take the China market by storm.”

Virtuix is further embedding itself in the Chinese marketplace, having received “strategic investment,” from Chinese electronic manufacturer Leyard, which will perhaps aid in manufacturing, but more specifically will be able to help install Omni’s in some of the country’s entertainment centers and theme parks where it already has a presence.

Investments from outside sources have seen Virtuix raise over $6 million in recent months, and now with its partners in China it is expected to expand its capabilities quite dramatically. However it is still a long way off from meeting all production needs. In a chat with Goetgeluk, we learned that there is still a near six-month waiting list for those ordering the treadmill.

While catching up with that backlog is important, Goetgeluk said that moving forward, Virtuix planned to refine the design of the Omni, making it lighter, more robust, and if possible, cheaper.

Editors' Recommendations

How should we move around in VR? Nobody has figured it out yet
vr locomotion movement omni hover junkers how to move 0001

Along with all of the exclusivity debates that have embroiled much of the talk surrounding virtual reality for the past few months, another discussion has been ongoing among gamers, developers, and onlookers: What's the best way to get about in virtual reality?

Talk to Oculus VR and HTC and you'll hear drastically different things. Oculus, with its focus on seated and standing experiences, argues for the idea of artificial locomotion, or using gamepads and controllers to handle your in-game movement -- regardless of what founder Palmer Luckey once said. HTC says that real-world movement is the best option for VR, letting people walk around in their roomscale-tracked spaces.

Read more
Google and IMAX partner up over VR camera development
google partnership with imax for vr camera development henry

360-degree virtual reality movies are an exciting development that a lot of people -- Joseph Gordon Levitt included -- are closely evaluating. To realize this new technology's potential, though, they're going to need specialized cameras, which is why Google is teaming up with Canadian film company IMAX to develop the future of VR camera rigs.

Announced at the Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California this Thursday, Google said that it will use the expertise of both IMAX and Chinese firm Yi Technology to develop a new generation of 360-degree cameras, designed specifically to film for VR.

Read more
Virtuix Omni sprints into Minecraft for GearVR, gives you room to roam
microsoft releases minecraft apple tv edition minecraftwindows10featured

As soon as we picked it up, it became clear that Minecraft on the GearVR is a winning combination. The immersive world and lively aesthetic are only more appealing when your field of view expands, but the one thing missing was the movement. Now, it looks like the Virtuix Omni is solving that with support for Minecraft for Gear VR. The omnidirectional treadmill lets you walk and run around your virtual block-based worlds with your own feet, and it couldn't be easier.

While there are ways to play Minecraft on the Vive with a bit of hacking, the GearVR version is fully supported, with handheld Bluetooth controller support for actions and movement. There's barely any setup to include the Omni, either. The game runs right out of the box with no tweaking, according to Virtuix. That's thanks to the Omni's Bluetooth controller emulation, which provides a natural sense of walking or running without motion sickness.

Read more