Big Blue themselves, IBM, are sponsoring the creation of Sword Art Online as a Virtual Reality MMORPG. The title will be called Sword Art Online: The Beginning and IBM is currently seeking 208 participants for an alpha test. IBM states that applicants must be comfortable in wearing a helmet and can walk freely without assistance. Applicants will be selected via a lottery system and the lucky 208 winners will be able to try out the experience in Tokyo on March 18th and 20th of this year.
IBM has been developing a cognitive computing system for some time now and this latest venture is said to be a test of this system. Participants will be scanned into 3D and then interact within the virtual world utilizing IBM’s cloud services as well as SoftLair technologies.
Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Kanae Itou and Haruka Tomatsu, who voiced Kirito, Yui and Asuna respectively, are lending their voices and reprising their roles for the game. We’ll just have to wait and see if the 208 alpha testers are able to log out before we commit to buy this upon release.