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July 7, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:40pm

SUPERSCAPE CHIEF DENIES SHARE SLIDE MEANS IT HAS PROBLEMS

By CBR Staff Writer

Superscape VR Plc chief executive John Chiplin says it is business as usual, despite the virtual reality company’s share slide earlier this week. The shares hit a low of 75 pence ($1.26), against a one-time high of 778 pence ($13.04) last year, and are hovering around 87 pence at the moment. Industry watchers attribute the problems to the slow take-off of virtual reality in general, and the fall of Virtuality Group Plc in particular (CI No 3,099). However, Chiplin says everyone at Superscape was surprised by the market’s reaction, and the company is as busy as ever. He told Computergram, people have wrongly got the impression that Superscape has put all its eggs in to the Internet basket, which is not true. Certainly, the company made a big fuss at the end of last year about the killer application it had found for the Internet, a network of virtual reality Web sites known as the Virtual World Wide Web (CI No 3,048). However, Chiplin says Internet applications currently account for only 25% of the company’s business, with the rest in traditional virtual reality applications such as entertainment, architecture and design. We haven’t staked our ranch on the Internet, he says. The Internet was not a re-positioning for the company, rather an addition to its existing business, in particular selling its VRT authoring tools. Chiplin says the Virtual World Wide Web has more than 300 pages now, and reckons it will begin to achieve critical mass with 2,000 odd sites, when he expects we will see a paradigm shift in the presentation of Web sites. Chiplin believes Superscape will be in an excellent position when and not if interactive real-time 3D applications take off. It they don’t, he reckons Intel Corp, Microsoft Corp and Silicon Graphics Inc will all have got it wrong as well. Superscape shed some 40 of its 101 staff in March (CI No 3,139), but Chiplin says this was welcomed by bankers and analysts, as it proved sound financial management. UK and Asia Pacific sales are apparently buoyant, but Chiplin admits US sales are down around 39% on last year, which he attributes to personnel problems, that are being resolved.

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