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Immersion Continues Loss, Pushes TouchSense For PS3

Immersion Corporation, which develops and licenses touch-feedback technology sometimes used in game controllers, announced its financial results for the second quarter en...
Immersion Corporation, which develops and licenses touch-feedback technology sometimes used in game controllers, announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2006, seeing a continuing loss after stymied attempts to settle its lawsuit with Sony. The technology company posted revenue of $6.7 million for the period, up slightly from $6.2 million over the same period in 2005. In addition, the company saw a net loss of $2.4 million, which represented a 16 percent drop from last year's $2.8 million. In fact, Immersion CEO and president Victor Viegas, who has been presiding over increasingly militant attempts to get Sony to work with Immersion on rumble/tilt options for the PlayStation 3 controller, commented with regards to Immersion's TouchSense tech: "This... technology can work alongside motion and tilt sensing and provides backward compatibility for existing dual-motor systems, allowing an implementation path at any stage of product lifecycle, even after a console model has launched." The company, which is still in the process of suing Sony over alleged misuse of controller rumble patents, formally announced its TouchSense vibration technology in June, clearly as a counter to Sony's claims that the PlayStation 3 controller will lack a rumble feature - due, they say, to hardware interference caused by its gyroscopic controls announced at E3 2006. The company also drew attention to its activity in the mobile market, noting that in the last quarter it signed a new license agreement with LG Electronics to allow the mobile handset manufacturer to make use of Immersion's VibeTonz System. The VibeTonz system uses the vibration features inherent in many cellular phones, as an alternate ring whenever the phone is silenced, for a sort of force-feedback in mobile games. In addition, other mobile operators, such as Korean company SK Telecom also recently launched a VibeTonz-only content service called VibeBell, which makes available a wide selection of VibeTonz-enhanced music clips for subscribers to download to their phones. Finally, Immersion stated that most recently in June, the company introduced a new VibeTonz capability, which enables force feedback in touchscreens for smartphones. “Our loss for the quarter, excluding non cash stock compensation, is the lowest quarterly loss since going public in 1999 and reflects our continued efforts to achieve profitability,” commented Victor Viegas, Immersion CEO and president. “Our overall revenue growth of 7 percent results from a 28 percent growth in our non-gaming businesses and a 46 percent decrease in our gaming revenue mainly due to the downturn of third-party controller sales in the video game industry.”

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