Virtuality ties up Atari deal

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The Independent Online
Virtuality, the start-up technology company, announced further expected losses for 1994 yesterday, but said it had reached a licensing agreement to develop virtual reality games and software for the Atari's new 64-bit multimedia entertainment system, Jaguar.

Virtuality, one of the few companies to work exclusively on commercial applications of virtual reality technology, last year signed a separate agreement with Atari to develop a head-mounted display for use with the Jaguar console.

That agreement is expected to lead to commercial production of the HMDs during 1995.

The company, which retains all rights to the technology, said the device would be on sale in shops in time for the 1995 Christmas season.The new agreement with Atari calls for two VR games to be developed for use with the Jaguar console.

The Atari deal marks its first big move into the consumer market. Virtuality already markets its own Series 2000 VR game to entertainment centres, theatres, malls and cafes. It sold 371 units in 1994.

The company had turnover in 1994 of £9.13m, up from £5.4m in 1993. Losses mounted from £370,000 in 1993 to £1.4m, largely as a result of increased research and development and the costs of expanding the sales network overseas. Virtuality added staff in Tokyo and the US to strengthen its software development capabilities.

Jon Waldern, chief executive, said development costs would be a smaller percentage of revenues in 1995 and that income from operations should start to grow substantially.