While some people would see this as a dream come true, as I suggested in the title, for me this would be a nightmare come to life. It’s no joke that virtual reality software and hardware is currently at the top of most new technologies developers’ “to master” list. We already have systems like the Oculus Rift that allow for us living in the real world to somewhat experience what a virtual life could be like, but it seems as though the Japanese branch of IBM are looking to take the virtual reality experience to an entirely new level with their project Sword Art Online: The Beginning.
A most simple explanation: Sword Art Online: The Beginning is a video game being developed by IBM alongside what is described as cutting-edge VR software; the “Cognitive System“. This new program allows for human thought to be transferred into the video game so that players can make decisions not by using a standard controller but…your brain. This, paired up with the software “SoftLayer” which is said to be able to produce realistic environments similar to that of the real world, is looking to be an amazing step forward in the world of virtual reality, and despite the fact that I’m the biggest anti-fan of Sword Art Online, I personally cannot stop myself from being overtly excited for the possibilities of this project, which just goes to show how much of a reach things like virtual reality truly has.
You, the player, will travel the world of Sword Art Online using nothing but the most powerful video game controller of them all; your body. This upcoming project will NOT have you pair a VR headset with an existing console controller, and (unlike Sword Art Online itself) it will not be a game played by surrendering your consciousness to a bulky headset. You will still physically move as you play the game, so the real issue is now making sure you have enough space to play it, but that’s something to be thought about when the inevitable home console release version of this product comes about.
IBM are also taking applications for their beta test up until the 4th of March this year which, once applicants are chosen, will begin on the 18th and run until the 20th in Tokyo. Now the scariest thing about a beta test of something as specific as a virtual reality version of the hit Anime and Light NOvel series Sword Art Online is that, well…WHAT IF WE GET STUCK IN SWORD ART ONLINE!? It’s the basis of the entire series, and now they’re making that a reality! Oh sure, I bet it’s fine for all of you out there who absolutely adore Sword Art Online, but what if I get curious and try on a headset only to then be sucked into a dangerous world where virtual death means actual death and the world in which I’m stuck in is SWORD ART ONLINE?! That’s a double whammy for me, so I guess I better steer clear of this project. IBM, let me know when you develop something based on alternative MMORPG Anime/Light Novel Story Log Horizon, then I’ll sign up for the beta. Until then, I’m going to go enjoy my non VR video games. That is…if I can bare to look at them.
Sign up for the beta by Clicking Here!