When it comes to locomotion-based accessories in the world of virtual reality, perhaps no other company has created more advanced items than that of KAT VR. After first launching the KAT Walk years back, the company has since released a smaller version known as the KAT Walk Mini in addition to other gadgets like the KAT Loco. Now, KAT VR is looking to further locomotion based devices once again and has now announced that it is developing the latest iteration of the popular treadmill.
The KAT Walk C is the name of this newly announced piece of hardware and it is “the world’s first gamer-dedicated, personal VR Omni-Directional Treadmill.” Compared to the original KAT Walk and the KAT Walk Mini, the KAT Walk C is a much smaller, refined version of the treadmill that is much better suited to fit into the homes of VR users. It’s also meant to be much more affordable, too.
Much like the other treadmills, the KAT Walk C features a full, 360-degree range of motion, that allows to run, walk, or move backward with your own legs only for those movements to be mirrored in-game. The KAT Walk C differs from its counterparts by being much lighter and more compact, however, and measures at 55-inches tall and weighs in at 128 pounds. Yes, that’s still a pretty hefty device, but all things considered, it is a vast improvement over what has previously been released.
The setup also comes with a pair of “cutting-edge footwear” that KAT VR says “pushes the boundaries of immersive VR experience further than ever.” These shoes are designed to keep you from slipping when moving about on the KAT Walk C and also have a high-level of breathability, ensuring that your feet won’t get too hot while playing.
In terms of accessibility, the KAT Walk C also comes with KAT Gateway, which is a software program that lets you quickly gain access to the control panel for the device. KAT Gateway can be access from either your computer directly or your VR headset, meaning that you won’t necessarily need to pull yourself out of your game to make adjustments to the treadmill. “You’ll be able to easily adjust all the parameters in only a matter of seconds, and most importantly – you can do it without having to leave the virtual world,” KAT VR explains.
KAT VR has announced the KAT Walk C alongside a new Kickstarter program for the device which will be launching later this month. Specifics of the campaign have yet to be revealed, such as how much the company will be looking to bring in for the KAT Walk C, but considering KAT VR’s past two Kickstarter programs turned out to be a success, it stands to reason that there will be support for this accessory, too. Further details of the KAT Walk C are said to be provided once this Kickstarter goes live as well.
All in all, the KAT Walk C looks like the type of high-quality VR treadmill that many have been wanting for a long time. While the KAT Walk and KAT Walk Mini were awesome, the prospect of everyday VR users every owning either device seemed a bit outlandish given their size and cost. For KAT VR to have now further shrunk down the treadmill and lowered the price a bit here in the C model means that perhaps more folks will finally be able to invest in one of these activity-focused devices in the future.
The “early-bird” pricing for the KAT Walk C via Kickstarter is said to be at $699 plus shipping. A finalized retail price will seemingly be higher than this when the product is fully available for sale to the public down the road. Despite still being pricey, other treadmills from KAT VR have retailed for well over $1000 in the past, so this is a pretty substantial dip in cost.
And perhaps best of all, the KAT Walk C will be compatible with all locomotion-based games that are available for VR devices. Additionally, all VR headsets — Oculus Rift, Valve Index, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and Windows Mixed Reality — will work with the KAT Walk C once it releases at a yet-to-be-determined date.