Virtual reality comes to the Shark Tank as entrepreneur Jan Goetgeluk pitches Virtuix Omni, his gaming interface that allows gamers to immerse themselves in their favorite PC games. The Virtuix Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill that lets you walk through game environments when coupled with virtual reality glasses.
The game accessory was a huge Kickstarter hit: Goetgeluk raised over $1 million to get his invention in preliminary production. At $450, it's a tad pricey for new technology, but hard-core gamers won't be deterred by the price tag. There's proof that it will sell, Goetgeluk has been selling a few per day for months, and it's still in the pre-order stage. He even has a self-produced, first person shooter, virtual reality game designed especially for the Virtuix Omni in production. The device works with any PC game with a keyboard control panel and early reviews are mind blowingly positive.
My Take on Virtual Reality Gaming
As a guy who was one of the first on the block with a computer back in the days of basic programming language, I've seen PC games go from Pong to Medal of Honor (and I've played them all). Ever since the movie Tron came out, people wanted to really “get in the game.” With virtual reality technology moving forward and devices like the Virtuix Omni, virtual reality IS real!
This device will take gaming to a whole new level. Instead of being a couch potato, you'll be able to run around “inside” the game environment and get some quality exercise. An article on the Virtuix Omni website says gamers could run “hundreds of miles during a campaign.” The parental knock on video games has always been that kids don't get any exercise while playing; that objection is now out the window.
People will say that virtual reality gaming could cause anti-social behavior, and they may have a point, but gaming is here to stay and advances in technology will always be eagerly embraced by the gaming community. As for me, I'd love to try it. I was big into Quake, a first person shooter game, when it first came out and it would be VERY COOL to run around in some of those environments. Virtuix Omni may be the first to the table with this level of virtual reality gaming technology, but if it works, they will sell millions of units!
Will the Sharks want to play?
I don't see how anyone could look at Virtuix Omni and NOT think it's extremely cool; that includes the Sharks. I think Mark, Kevin, and Robert are best suited to this with their tech backgrounds. If Mr. Wonderful looks for a royalty on Virtuix Omni, I will want to frag him! Mark may be interested too, but the promo shows Robert getting very excited while testing it out.
I think Robert could make a play for this and he may well be the best Shark for the job. Either way, I'm IN with a Virtuix Omni, Occulus Rift Glasses and a set of Razor Hydra game sensors! See you “in the game.”