Sometimes synergies just make so much sense that people are shocked when they don’t workout. I think it’s fair to say that many people expected that we’d all have some kind of VR treadmill collaboration by now. Surely in a world where we have VirZoom and Icaros, we’d have something as simple and seemless as a VR treadmill that works perfectly, right? Well, not so much.
As you may recall, I was quite harsh when I talked about the Vue VR treadmill. Aside from a high price point, it also had a limitation that I simply couldn’t forgive: How can it truly help people workout if people over 286.6 pounds can’t use it? The other player in this space, that’s still in it’s infancy to be kind, is the Katwalk VR treadmill.
Here’s the tale of the tape for the odds-on favorite of the market. The features include:
- Walk, Run, Jump, Crouch, naturally in virtual reality games and simulations
- Concave platform enables a smooth, natural gait and an immersive walking and running motion
- Two belts provide maximum safety and stability
- The player can walk and run freely with hand and arm moving naturally ,no obstacle in the way when putting on VR Headset and playing in the virtual reality world
- Free rotation part provides 360-degree versatility
- Decoupled head and body movement so you can move and look in different locations simultaneously
- Smart speed that recognizes the speed of your movement and changes the pace in the game to reflect it
- Supports both new VR content and legacy PC games that are VR-ready and accept gamepad input
- Firmware translates movement to analog gamepad input
Specs on this beauty are sparse, but what we do know is Katwalk is a new omni-directional treadmill that has been designed to be as unrestrictive as possible giving the user 360 degrees of continuous movement within a small space. It is compatible with Oculus Rift. With its built-in and wearable sensors, you can literally walk/run (forwards and backwards), jump, crouch and sit in the virtual world.
KAT WALK is especially suited for First Person Shooter games and other applications where you need to move around. You can control the in-game character with your own body, helping to increase presence and decreases simulator sickness.
The Vue VR Treadmill can hold up to 286.6 pounds, but the Katwalk can support up to 308 pounds. That is nearly 20 pounds worth of difference and that makes a huge difference. With millions of Americans being classified as obese, those few extra pounds opens up the Katwalk to millions more users.
For point of reference, the Vue costs a whopping $1599.99. The Katwalk has a posted price of $599, but that doesn’t include some important add-ons like the shoes and more. As of right now, I can really only go on the price tag that it took to get one Katwalk via their Kickstarter page. The price tag for the Vue VR Treadmill is $1,599.00. That’s right, you could get 3 Katwalks for the price of one Vue! That’s a huge disparity.
The problem with Katwalk versus Vue VR Treadmill’s model is that the Vue can actually be bought by the regular user. Katwalk is still in the business of selling to the Arcade vendor rather than the singular consumer. VR Treadmill wants to go after everyone whereas Katwalk wants to go after the people who will be a constant stream of revenue in their opinion and that means arcades and business owners.
Let’s face it: I’ve been critical of the Vue here and in other articles. I can’t get passed the fact that it has such a weight restriction and that price point could scare off the best of us. But if you can shell out the bucks and not tip the scales past their limits, you’re in line for a cool addition to your VR workouts. For matter of functionality, both machines do the same thing and Katwalk does have the edge on weight limits and cost. If it was actually available right now, I’d give Katwalk the edge, but until it’s a real thing you and I can buy ad bring into our home, the winner is the Vue. The loser, however, is the consumer. There should be more and much better options in this segment and we can only hope that it’s going to expand as time passes.