Sword Art Online and IBM recently teamed up for a special promotional project called Sword Art Online: The Beginning, which demonstrated IBM’s VR capabilities through Reki Kawahara’s popular light novel series. 208 applicants were selected for the “Alpha Testing,” which which is really just a demo to compare how close IBM gets to the technology we see in SAO.
Over 10,000 applicants tried out, however, only the 208 people mentioned above were chosen. While IBM is not really trying to create VRMMOs, some fans were even impressed, with one man who participated saying that “IBM is Amazing.”
According to Road to VR, “the entire notion of the Sword Art Online: The Beginning is a purposeful intermingling of the fictional universe of Sword Art Online and our real world. Without the context of the show itself and an understanding of virtual reality, it would be easy to misunderstand, even if you were a native Japanese speaker.” They added that the “Alpha Testers” will only be experiencing the “20 minute VR marketing demo” and that the promotion” is not a game or an MMO, or anything that has legs beyond being a promotional vehicle.” These 208 “Alpha Testers” will also only be ” scanned to have their avatars in the experience and there may be some multiplayer happening but it will be something like four players at a time.”
“Alpha Testing” is still ongoing, and will go on until March 20, 2016. Shun Kubota, Editor in Chief of Mogura VR has said that the promotion only aims to show “what it would be like when the cognitive computing IBM is developing is used in future gaming technology.” This means that this is just a marketing promotion to show off IBM’s technological advances in the world of virtual reality, and what better way to show them off that Sword Art Online, right?
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IBM"s Alpha Testing for "Sword Art Online: The Beginning" project begins