UK Virtual reality pioneer VR Solutions Ltd this month completed its merger with Virtual Presence Ltd. It made sense to join forces with Virtual Presence because its aims and objectives complement ours, explained Professor Bob Stone, senior director of the new group, and managing director of VR Solutions. VR Solutions is 80% a virtual reality application developer and 20% a hardware and software distributor of virtual reality products. Virtual Presence is the other way round, Stone added. The two are now in the process of streamlining their companies efforts between the new VR Solutions offices in Sale, Manchester and those of Virtual Presence in London. Stone remains as buoyant as ever about the virtual reality industry, despite the problems affecting other companies in the market, such as the recent fall in Superscape VR plc’s share prices (CI No 3,196) and the collapse of Virtuality plc (CI No 3,096).It is ironic. There has been no backlash, he said. In fact industry seems at last to be biting the bullet. Stone believes the reason privately-held VR Solutions has fared well is that it hasn’t undergone the identity crisis that others in the industry have. Both Division and Superscape have been changing their target market so much that the market is confused, Stone says. Division Group Plc no longer calls itself a virtual reality company (CI No 3,199) and last November (CI No 3,048) Superscape repositioned itself as an interactive three-dimensional web company from being just a pure VR company. VR Solutions gets a significant amount of work from companies that have invested in VR equipment and have got poor after sales support, according to Stone. About one company a month has been coming to us recently with this problem, he said. And this kind of thing is bad for the virtual reality business. Stone was a key author of the report into virtual reality commissioned by the UK Department of Trade & Industry and published last year. He is heavily involved in the new VR Forum being set up. The Forum is apparently set to meet again at the end of this month.