As of today, we're no longer using Kickstarter as our launch platform, and will instead be self-hosting our own pre-orders via Shopify. With the money we're saving from Kickstarter fees, we're passing on a $100 price reduction onto all of our headsets (now priced at $2,699 instead of $2,799). In addition, we'll be opening up the option for people to place $1,499 half-deposits to reserve units (off of a higher base price). Our pre-order store will be opening by the end of this weekend; as promised, we will notify early waitlisters an hour before our launch to give them a better chance at securing the early headset discount ($2,499 price; 50 units available).
We understand we've been telling everyone for weeks we're about to Kickstarter launch, and that this last minute decision makes us look a bit silly. So in this post, we explain our reasoning and the details of our new pricing scheme.
1 Our numbers
First, some transparency about our numbers. In previous posts, we have stated that our breakeven sales target is roughly 892 headsets (or $2.4M in sales, without Kickstarter fees). We currently have 4,105 email subscribers on our "weekly Simula updates" email list. A lot of people on this list are just curious about our progress/aren't necessarily interested in buying a headset from us. So a few weeks ago, we started placing a "Get Notified an Hour Before Our Campaign Launches" button at the end of every blog post. This has helped us get a better sense for the actual number of people interested in purchasing headsets from us.
We currently have 566 people on this "early Kickstarter" list, and it seems to be growing at a rate of roughly 17/day since launching. 100% of the traffic to these lists is organic, and has been mostly coming from places like Hacker News, reddit, Twitter, & VR blogs.
While these numbers are only a rough indicator of market interest, we take them as a reasonably good sign we'll be able to reach our campaign target over the course of a few months.
2 The pros of hosting our own preorders
2.1 We extend our pre-order window to be longer than 60 days
Given our early waitlist numbers, it seems likely we will be able to clear our fund target over the course of 1-4 months. It seems somewhat less likely (though still possible) we would be able to do this over the course of a traditional 30-60 day Kickstarter campaign.
Since Kickstarter places a 60-day cap on campaign lengths, hosting our own pre-order campaign allows us to take deposits for much longer than this. This increases the chances our operation succeeds.
2.2 We pass on a $100/headset price reduction
The money we save from hosting our own preorders allows us to pass cost-savings onto consumers.
 To be clear: we have nothing in principle against new projects using crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. We also don't mind that Kickstarter charges a 5% fee for its services. The issue is just that our particular offering/campaign is high cost enough that a 5% fee reduction is substantial.
2.3 We allow for partial deposits ($1,499 today + $1,499 later)
Hosting our own preorder campaign allows us to charge early backers $1,499 half-deposits to reserve headsets (requiring another $1,499 later on to receive the headset). This is a good option for backers who like our headset, but don't want to pay the full price up front (either to split up the costs over time, or because they want to wait and see us make more progress before they commit to a full purchase).
3 Our new pricing scheme
Our updated pricing scheme is as follows:
|Headset||Full Deposit Pre-Order Pricing (Early Bird Pricing)||Full Deposit Pre-Order Pricing||Partial Deposit Pre-Order Pricing||MSRP|
|Simula One||$2,499||$2,699||$1,499 + $1,499 = $2,998||$3,499|
|Simula One Tethered Edition||$1,999||$1,999||$1,149 + $1,149 = $2,298||$2,499|
|Simula One Founders’ Edition||$4,999||$4,999||N/A||$4,999|
- Price increases over time. We will increase the price each month after launch to incentivize early backing. Over time, the price of our headset will approach its MSRP.
- Use of funds. Funds raised from pre-orders are to be used for the manufacturing and product development of the Simula One.
- Lead times. We expect units to ship no earlier than Q1 2023 (most likely Q2 2023), with priority given to Founders' Editions.
- Deposit return policy. Initial deposits are refundable for 1 week after submission, after which they become nonrefundable until headsets are delivered (initiating another 30-day return policy).
- Shipping, taxes, & duties. We reserve the right to charge taxes, duties, & shipping fees to consumers before delivering headsets.
- Biweekly updates. We commit to sending progress reports no fewer than twice a month, on average.
Our next email update will be a notification to our "early Kickstarter" waitlist that our launch is happening within an hour. We will have 50 standalone Simula One's available for a reduced price of $2,499. After the early discount headsets are sold, we will notify everyone else that the remaining preorders are available.
 The Simula One "Tethered Edition" and "Founders' Edition" will be featured and described in our store. The "Tethered Edition" is a Simula One without a detachable compute pack included; it will require you to plug into another PC, and is good for gaming or running Simula on another machine. The "Founders' Edition" is a Simula One made with finer materials, and will feature a front-panel LED matrix display.
See you soon!