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Comfortable. Sweatproof. Lightweight. Works with VR & PC platforms & games. 16 positional haptics sensors & vibration nodes. Feel VR.
Comfortable. Sweatproof. Lightweight. Works with VR & PC platforms & games. 16 positional haptics sensors & vibration nodes. Feel VR.
349 backers pledged $147,574 to help bring this project to life.

Post mortem report and the conclusion of Hardlight

Posted by Morgan Sinko (NullSpace VR) (Creator)
1 like

Hello all,

I have some sad news to share with the Hardlight community today: Hardlight VR will be closing down this month. We have been unable to raise additional operating funds, and so, after two years of operation, we have no options left to us but straightforward closure - we are simply out of money. We're disappointed that we can’t do more to make haptics in VR a reality, but we're thankful for the support we've received from those who shared our dream.

As per Kickstarter’s guidelines, I’ll be providing a brief summary of how funds of this campaign were spent.

Kickstarter funds:

As publicly published, our total raise on the Kickstarter was approximately 147k. After Kickstarter’s portion, credit card processing fees, and taxes, our final raise was $122,944 plus $30,761 in Backerkit funds (suit only). At the time of the campaign, we calculated from our original supplier quotes that the total cost of the run would be approximately $119k.

The final costs of the manufacturing were:

  • $8,697 mandatory first-article manufacturing prototype 
  • $43,250 plastic injection molds 
  • $50,643 electronic parts and assembly 
  • $87,945 textiles, plastics and final assembly 
  • $22,183 shipping (still counting) 
  • Total cost: $212,718 

For simplicity, we’ve excluded salary and development costs from this total. Miscellaneous costs, such as T shirts, game keys, and other related items are also not included.

As demonstrated, manufacturing the Hardlight took over 138% of our actual raise. We covered the $59,013 additional cost with a combination of traditionally fundraised capital and money from family, friends, and our own savings.

Wireless:

Our wireless module, unfortunately, suffered a more extreme version of this issue. In contrast to the suit, which had already been fully prototyped before the Kickstarter, the wireless was a stretch goal that required additional engineering to create.

Wireless modules were funded by $17,700 raised as an extension of our crowdfunding campaign. Our original design for this system was a simple Bluetooth 5 module that was projected to cost about 10k to to develop and the remainder to manufacture. However, very late in the dev process, we encountered a crippling software issue outside of our control that forced us to completely redo the design. What we’d expected to be a ~10k project turned out to be $18,451 in development costs alone, 104% of the project earnings without any production done. While we ultimately did complete a design for the module, at this time, we no longer have any funds left to manufacture it.

I’m sorry to announce that the wireless add-on of this project has failed, and we will not be able to deliver any physical product for it.

I’m sorry for our silence on this news. We delayed addressing it as we remained hopeful until only a week ago that we would be able to close a small asset sale for the Hardlight technology that would at least allow this module to be completed or refunded. Unfortunately, we have had no offers.

Thank you for your support.

Over the past 9 months, we have been working full time without pay to attempt to find some positive resolution for this project. Sadly, we have had no offers of any kind, either for fundraising or for acquisition, and are now completely out of operating funds. While we still love the idea of haptics in VR, it’s clear that the VR industry is moving far slower than we expected, and we have been unable to make our product or our company sustainable. Thank you all for your help in making the Hardlight a reality, if a short lived one - I’m sorry we could not bring a more successful close to this project.

Thank you, 

Lucian

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Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Damien Cheetham
      Superbacker
      on

      I'm also sorry to hear this news guys.

      Since receiving my hardlight, I've taken it along to 2 community VR events, and put over 40 people in the suit, and they LOVE IT.

      Sairento (Ninja bullet time hack and slash), was the demo I had on, and the number of ' WOOOAH, COOOL, SH*T + other 4 letter expletives' I lost count of. People love the idea, gamers can't wait to try it, and I'm here at Birmingham's EGX, the Gaming event here in the UK with it to let other gamers try it out.

      I agree with the non trolls ( ;-) ) on here ...
      YOU'VE DONE THE HARD WORK.....
      VR hasn't had the mass take up we thought it would ....
      BUT with Playstation ... VR has been opened up to more gamers. Pure & Casual gamers.

      You need to keep hold of a few suits ... Do the trade shows for investments.
      ... Involve angel investors ...
      ... and US, Backers that hold DEMO's ...

      You have a working product, this is less of a tech demo (I know the arguments !!)
      Working product, with SDK, and I also agree...

      Throw the SDK open to those to develop.
      Show us who want to develop, how to, examples, we can create.

      Dont give up on a passion.

      You have our email addresses, time to take stock, engage us for idea's

      Remember. Mixed Reality is just around the corner ... what does that mean ...
      ... Laser quest with GUI and .... Hardlight Suits .... FEEL the SPECTRE's were trying to Slay in a Mixed Reality world ....

      So many possibilities, you just haven't had the time to really take it into the big wide world before than damn thing called Money came into it.

      Lastly, I feel the pain of the backers who have been 'hurt' again by a kickstarter project.
      These are the risks, and do you have any REAL Idea what it's like to do a product launch from an idea ... F'ing insanely difficult I'd imagine. I know we aint buying a product yadda, its a risk ... fluff ... Still hurts when a dream we buy into isn't taken up by the rest of the world and the producers of said product have turned grey, get a load of hate from us, and see an excided dream turn into mill around their necks....

      To the team.
      Honestly, well done. I'm proud of you guys for this Hardlight Jacket hanging up on my hotel wall, at a computer gaming event and the smile you've put on peoples face's when you've delivered a sucker punch to them from nothing more than a VR headset and imagination.

      Applause. Thank you for ALL the times, stress and energy (+ Blood sweat and tears).

    2. Mathew Frank on

      Sorry to hear it has gone badly. I very happy with the build quality.

      With you folding then it makes it less likely new games will support it or that it is worth biulding into a game.

      Can u throw open source the sdk? If the sdk was extended to support other suits over time then it would still be worth biulding into games.

      There is also the option of sellimg shares to backers like me as we have an 'existing relationship' ie no requirement for expensive paperwork

    3. Master Shadow on

      I can't say I'm surprised after receiving my suit. Poor production quality. Poor management. Just all around seemingly a horribly mismanaged company that I regret investing in. It really is unfortunate though. In other hands this could have taken off.

      I do have to wonder about some of the actions they've taken over the past few years if and how they don't match up with the description above. They were running out of money but started charging less for the suits which apparently they were making at a loss???

      I hope that KickStarter has something that holds them accountable to be audited in situations like this. I'd love to know what a third party says about the validity of their claims and whether or not this was a cash grab and bail or legitimate mismanagement. I doubt we'll get the satisfaction though.

      Another black mark for backing KickStarters. :(

    4. James Herrera on

      Sorry to see yall having to shut down I really appreciate you doing all you could to make sure to deliver even going into your own pockets. Y'alls work could push vr tech forward

    5. Lucian Copeland Collaborator on

      @Shizof I appreciate the input. However, one of the reasons we were forced to lower the price is because we were unable to meet a required MOQ (minimum order quantity) for our manufacturer without it. Even with the price drop, we did not see a large enough uptick in orders, and only just barely scraped by using an injection of cash from us founders and some close investors.

      What I've hoped to demonstrate with our cost breakdown is how massive the *non recurring* components of the manufacturing were. Plastic molds alone were a third of our raise. And when you're as small as we are, you have no leverage - that means paying 70% or more upfront. Even if I thought I could make another 1000 suits and sell them one at a time, that'd be well over a 100k+ upfront investment.

      All that said, I'm doing what I can to make sure this tech can live on in some form. I will keep you all updated as I find out in more detail what that will look like. Your Skyrim mod sounds very cool, and I'm sure many other backers, customers and arcades will love to try it.

    6. Shizof on

      @Lucian I think you shouldn't close the company. If it doesn't cover your production costs, you can hold/cancel the production of wireless adapter. Think of the money we gave you for them as a "loan to be paid much later".

      Increase the price of the suit to cover any costs. I mean you decreased the cost instead of increasing it.

      What you should have done is to increase the games which your suit works with. I mean, I'm almost finished working on a mod to support SkyrimVR, and you are throwing the towel. When I went to your website last month to see it, there were nothing there (still nothing), I can't order the suit. How do you expect to get money if nobody can order your suit?

      VR community is not that small as you think, more customers will come if you support more games (not that audio support but real support), we are ready to pay more price but expect results too.

      Continue producing the suit as people order them. Cover your extra expenses etc. And after a time, you can cover the wireless costs too later if the company grows.

      Consider this.

    7. Lucian Copeland Collaborator on

      @Revery123 check out Rob's wireless modem solution, posted by Shizof at the bottom of these comments. I can't verify that it works personally but it seems to be doing the job for a number of other backers.

    8. Lucian Copeland Collaborator on

      @shizof production parts shortages, Lithium Ion battery regulations, and bad bluetooth drivers. And our most important lesson - that quotes love to go up after you've committed a huge down payment.

      I'm sorry we weren't able to get it together in time. But I'm glad Rob's solution is working well.

    9. Revery123 on

      It was a good run, you actually made your product and got it out to everyone. So beyond all the complaints/hate, I appreciate your hard work since we spoke during your initial live stream QA those years ago.

      As for the wireless module, that is a shame as most people are finally cutting the cord with the tpcast / vive wireless adapter. Is there anything you can offer in terms of either getting it made, or instructions on how to make our own (similar to zephVR project dismissal)? Any help would be appreciated!

    10. Daniel Kennard on

      @Tobias - I am more than $700 out of pocket. I have every right to be as annoyed as I am.
      Stop being an apologist for incompetency

    11. Tobias Drewry on

      Sorry to see you have to shutdown operations. Thank you and your team for trying to make this a reality. (to the rest of you, please keep in mind that these people put their own money in well beyond anything we contributed individually. please be respectful as closing a company is not something people do lightly)

      As to the guide @shizof posted, that's awesome. too bad it was published in Aug this year, as it clearly would have been useful to the HL team much earlier!

    12. Shizof on

      I made the wireless module for 60 dollars with the guide here: https://www.youtube.com/watch…
      It's working great.
      How the hell did you manage to fuck it up?