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August 16, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Bristol, UK-based virtual reality systems – now turning itself into a software – company Division Group Plc, still turning in losses and still aiming for profitability next year, says the virtual reality market is maturing and that the company’s focus is sharpening. The company has once again seen losses rise, to 2.3m pounds from 1.6m pounds last time, on revenue that was up 23% to 3m pounds. At the end of last year, the company was at the end of its tether over a deal with Hewlett-Packard Co, under which the two were developing three-dimensional graphics accelerators based on PixelFlow technology licensed from the University of North Carolina. Division finally threw in the towel and sold its Pixelfusion unit to Hewlett-Packard in June ( CI No 2,937), and says that this at least leaves it free to focus on its core virtual reality business. Hewlett is paying Division $5.6m, together with a royalty of 3% on future sales of resulting products. The company is now concentrating on selling its dVS run-time and dVISE virtual reality authoring tool, particularly to the engineering market. It says this market is demonstrating tangible benefits of from the use of virtual reality prototyping. Division says its product sales mix has also changed. It is now selling very little of its own hardware, but sales of its software, which now runs on standard Unix workstations, with those from Silicon Graphics Inc leading the way, have more than doubled. This, it says, is a reflection of the growing maturity in the virtual reality market. The company has released a Windows NT version of dVISE, and says market response has been encouraging. Ever optimistic, chairman Iann Barron says the prospects for virtual reality continue to improve , and the company is confident that it will continue to grow as the market develops. In line with its stated policy, Division does not pay dividends.

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