IBM and Sword Art Online’s recent team up, Sword Art Online: The Beginning, has now started its “Alpha Tests,” which demonstrate IBM’s virtual reality capabilities. which are in line with Reki Kawahara’s bestselling science fiction light novels.
Over 10,000 people applied for the project, but in the end, only 208 were allowed to join the “Alpha Testing.” Fans were given the chance to try out IBM’s “NervGear Prototype,” which lets the testers test out their VR capabilities. The testers were able to explore the world of Aincrad, lift bottles, and fight monsters in the virtual world.
However, it is best to take these tests with a grain of salt, as we have mentioned in an earlier article, this is more of a promotional event to demonstrate IBM’s virtual reality technology, rather than an actual project to make VRMMOs real.
Shun Kubota, Editor in Chief of Mogura VR, , the leading virtual reality publication in Japan, has confirmed that the “VRMMO Project” is only a marketing stunt, and 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.” In other words, there is not really any real game in development, and it is all just a marketing experience to show off IBM’s new virtual reality technology, and they are promoting it with Sword Art Online.
As for the 208 “Alpha Testers,” they only participated in a “20-minute marketing experience” that will have the players” 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.” However, these testers also seemed to enjoy the experience, even if it does not even come close to SAO.
Source: Inside Games