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Sixense Announces Refunds For Controller Kickstarter Backers

STEM controller saga comes to an end as Sixense authorises refunds.

It has been over five years since Sixense launched its campaign for an STEM motion controllers designed for virtual reality (VR). Despite the crowdfunding campaign being successful, the project has been mired in delays, and now the company are offering refunds to backers as well as people who pre-ordered the controllers after the Kickstarter campaign closed.

Despite the STEM motion controllers not being delivered, Sixense have since been involved in developing hardware solutions, including VR systems, for business and enterprise applications.

The Kickstarter campaign raised $604,978, with Sixense CEO Amir Rubin confirming that further $500,000 was raised through per-orders after the close of the crowdfunding campaign. Rubin told The Verge that the decision to refund backers came after the company failed to resolve a number of issues resulting from the attempt to move from 3D-printed prototypes to full-scale production.

The company managed to resolve the majority of the problems, but the company decided against proceeding with moving the device into the mass market. Instead, the company are intending to produce limited runs of an improved, and more expensive, device.

Another factor in the decision made by Sixense is that in the time since the Kickstarter campaign for the STEM controller a number of tracked motion controllers have entered the market, such as the Oculus Touch and HTC Vive wands.

Sixense previously refused to give refunds to Kickstarter backers and those who had placed pre-orders after those customers became angry and frustrated with the delays. Rubin says the company has issues refunds to individuals who have requested them, but up until now the Sixense board of directors have not authorised a blanket refund.

Though some customers will be disappointed in the news, many analysts believe that the majority will be relieved that a very long saga is finally at an end.

For future coverage of VR hardware and peripherals, keep checking back with VRFocus.

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