As much as I want to get swept away into a VR MMO based on Sword Art Online with the rest of you, the recently announced Sword Art Online: The Beginning (involving IBM’s Watson) is not going to be the game to do it. In fact, it isn’t a game at all.

It’s been widely reported [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] that the recently announced Sword Art Online: The Beginning is an actual virtual reality MMO game that’s in development, sponsored by IBM Watson, and that 208 lucky people selected to participate in an event in Tokyo in March will see a glimpse of the game’s “Alpha”. The narrative reported by most outlets is that this is an honest to goodness in-development title that will be created and released as a virtual reality MMO game. In comment threads across the web, these reports sparked waves of rejoice, promises to never leave the virtual world, and even debates about how long the full game would take to develop.

This is wrong and I’m terribly sorry to be the one that has to dash your hopes and dreams.

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I can understand why people got it wrong. First of all we have the language barrier, which is a highly effective filter of nuance (which is very important to this story). Second, 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.

So what is it then? Sword Art Online: The Beginning is a 20 minute VR marketing demo. It is a neat marketing stunt for both IBM Watson and the Sword Art Online anime/manga/movie. It is not a game or an MMO, or anything that has legs beyond being a promotional vehicle.

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How do I know? Ugh… this is going to get really meta. To try to make this easier for all of us, I’m going to use Sword Art Online to refer to the real life media property (anime/manga), and Sword Art World to talk about the fictional virtual reality game that exists within the Sword Art Online universe. Here we go.

sword art online oculus rift virtual reality
Sword Art Online protagonists Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya (left) and Asuna Yūki

In Sword Art Online, people in the year 2022 use a VR system called NerveGear to access Sword Art World. Within the story’s narrative, Sword Art World has just exited Beta (this is important), and players are shown joining the game on launch day. Many of the players playing on launch day were Beta players, so they know more about the game than new players. This difference between Beta players and new players becomes an important point of conflict in the plot.

While playing Sword Art World on launch day, the players get trapped inside due to someone tampering with their NerveGear headsets, which inhibit their brainwaves while they are inside the game, making them unable to move in the ‘real’ (fictional) world. If someone takes the headset off of them in the ‘real’ world, they die. So they are stuck.

What most of the media misunderstood when reporting news of Sword Art Online: The Beginning was that the ‘Alpha’ that is referenced is not an ‘Alpha’ in the game design sense. It is an ‘Alpha’ in the fictional sense—it is (according to the marketing narrative) the prequel to the fictional ‘Beta’ of Sword Art World (the version of the game that precedes players getting stuck in the game).

Update 2/25/16 7:46PM PT: Several readers have pointed out a mistake in the original article which said that the version of the game players are playing in the show is the Beta. The Beta does play an important part in the story, but the players in the game are actually shown playing on the first day of the game’s launch after the Beta. The above has been corrected to make this clear.

This is Dr. Akihiko Kayaba. Notice that he is not a real human.

We can see more evidence of this in other parts of the promotional material. It is said that a certain Dr. Akihiko Kayaba has met with an IBM Researcher who, through Watson, has made the ‘Alpha’ possible. Dr. Kayaba, however is not a real person, he is a character in Sword Art Online who, inside the show, creates Sword Art World and the fictional NerveGear VR system.

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See, we are mixing the fiction and non-fiction worlds. And it’s all in good fun, but so terribly easy to misunderstand without the context of the show, especially when there’s a language barrier involved.

Outside of these fiction/non-fiction interminglings, there’s more evidence that this isn’t a real MMO or even a game that will be released beyond this marketing event. The experience is not being created by a game design studio, but instead it’s being developed by an independent creative agency (with the very confusing name of 1→10), which has previously created a VR marketing experience for Pepsi.

Agency 1→10 produced this Pepsi VR marketing experience last year| Photo courtesy Reddit user zeroyon04

To confirm all of this (after all, I am working from translations myself), I spoke with Shun Kubota, Editor in Chief of Mogura VR, the leading virtual reality publication in Japan. He confirmed that the marketing concept behind Sword Art Online: The Beginning is to show “what it would be like when the cognitive computing IBM is developing is used in future gaming technology.”

“So it is not actually a real game in development, it is just a marketing experience to show off VR, IBM Watson, and Sword Art Online?” I asked. “Exactly,” Kubota told me.

Update 3/1/16 12:56AM PT: While we were unable to get in touch with anyone directly involved in the project for comment, The Verge, prompted by our story, was able to reach a spokesperson from IBM who further confirmed that Sword Art Online: The Beginning is a short VR marketing experience and not the production of a real VR MMO. 

So what are those 208 people going to see when they see the “Alpha’? They’re seeing a finished (not ‘alpha’) ~20 minute marketing experience (timing per the FAQ) that will involve Watson in some way (likely for NPC interaction). Players will 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, far short of the scope of a real MMO.

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The 20 minute ‘Alpha’ will happen over three days in March. At only 20 minutes long, if all 208 players experienced it at once (as you would suspect from a real MMO), there would be no need for three days. The official site specifies that each daily session will run from 11AM to 7PM; let’s assume there’s 10 minutes between demos: that’s 360 minutes (6 hours) running the demo each day (1080 minutes total). To fit 208 players into this time frame at 20 minutes each, the most fitting group size would be four players at a time.

We’ve actually seen something almost identical before. Back at Anime Expo 2014 Oculus showed a Sword Art Online VR experience at their booth. But then, just as now, it was a short, fun VR experience which gave players a scripted glimpse into the fiction of Sword Art World, not a real VR game being developed for release, or anything close to it.

Sorry, Internet, but our VR MMO is in another castle.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • DontGetMeStarted

    I’ll wait til March and be let down. I don’t need you letting me down a month in advance!

    • Evilmonkey

      Wait it is coming out in March damn it better not be 20 min. If it is there is six more years until 2022 the first year of the game or the year nerve gear is created keep dreaming and it might happen that’s my hope

    • Horizon bolt
    • Tomi Gt

      its 2020 we havent got a word

  • Sky Castle

    I only just heard about this yesterday but wasn’t really hyped anyway. I do think MMOs have the potential to give some of the best VR experiences with it’s open world structure, but they also take the longest to develop.

    I’m super excited VR is happening in my lifetime though. The first gen of VR is just barely here and I already can’t wait to see what the next few generations brings.

  • Shurikn Ibuki

    Nothing new here, most of the previous publication said it would just be a Demo, also you are wrong about the SAO thing, when people get stuck in the game it’s actually the first day AFTER the beta, it’s the official lauch of the game.


    This article almost gave me a heart attack. Damn man i have no words to say. Only die hard Sword Art Online anime fans can understand how happy i was when i first heard the news on Sword Art Online VR game and I watched the trailer on YouTube and It was one of the happiest days in my life and Now i’m reading this article which says It’s not a game it’s just a 20 minutes demo. What a disappointment right? and One last question: When is that 20 minutes demo will available for everone?

    • GrangerFX

      Disappointment yes but also a massive relief. As another die hard Sword Art Online fan, I could see myself getting stuck in the game on an entirely voluntary (addicted) basis. That’s something to look forward to in my retirement years but not during my most productive years.

      • Imagine the Asians

        an found dead with VR strapped to head playing SAO.

        • SI PUNK

          That would f**ked up man. News would go viral on internet, TV and Parents will take the VR headsets from their children and ban those forever and That’s something that i would not like to see.

      • SI PUNK

        Yes. People like you don’t know how to use those kind of games rightfully because they quickly addict to the game and Play it entire day. I’m not that kind of guy. I played thousands of games including the biggest games of the past years but i’m not play those games entire day!!! I only play 3 hours per day. People like you quickly addict to games (like Sword Art Online) but that’s not a normal thing! you know. It’s 100% ”Mental Case” Game Addiction is not a normal thing! A normal human being would never addict to such games because they can understand the responsibilities that they have for their friends, family etc and They knows that this world is bigger then playing video games and People like you should not play VR games for your own good.

    • Horizon bolt
  • sivils

    Umm you have it wrong, kirito was a beater, the best beta tester there was. Sword Art Online takes place in the fully released game.

  • NatsuDragneel109

    There currently making the nerve gear my friend signed up for beta testing but its gonna take a month for them to let people in he has to fly to japan to use it lol

  • Valk

    From my comment on Reddit:

    “Nope, nope, nope. Had to stop reading and comment on this. The events in the show are NOT in a beta. The beta happens and is completed before the show even starts. Please correct this, because this is a glaring error right at the very beginning of your article and really sheds a harsh light on anything else you say that follows. It is extremely frustrating when people say they know what they are talking about but then make glaring errors like that.”

  • Simbolic

    I’m a huge SAO fan & of MMOs in general. As much as I’d like to see VR igniting MMOs I’m thinking the genre has had its heyday. The once massive juggernaut WoW peeked at 25 million accounts, but now-a-days all the mmo’s combined don’t equal that. It really comes down to user base..How do you justify the investment in a VR-MMO when it will be years before there is enough equipped users for it to be Massive??

    • Jayblood

      You’re retarded.

      • Simbolic

        hold your breath until a VR vender sells 10 million units…

  • Nameless GamingNG

    im going to wait to be let down… this article had allot of mistakes! in the anime they were playing the full game… and btw the Alpha is before a Beta so…… thanks allot

  • Courtney A Jeff

    actually if u got a oculus rift and goto wearvr and download pspvr the vr emulator for psp roms u can get sword art online from psp in a rom site it is in japanese so it will have limited english titles i love people because Jesus loves me and u2

  • Isolated

    The biggest clue to me that this is an “experience” rather than a real alpha is that the author of SAO is cited as in charge of the “scenario” (シナリオ)–this term is analogous to script/story of a multimedia production, and indicates that the demo involves a story written by someone rather than pure VR tech exploration. Of course, I half-hoped that referred to some brief scripted events or quests, but how often does an MMO alpha bother to cite a single writer? At the very least, I think the parties involved aren’t serious about a VRMMO at this point.

  • Pickle Rick

    One day technology will get there…. maybe…

  • Ragef33

    (Edit: Now that the event has happened, congratulations! Turns out you were right, even with the speculative evidence presented.)

    Speculation: The article.
    You might be right, but nothing really proves it, and you just have one comment from a random japanese guy, who is not actually involved with the project.

    You also got the story-elements about SAO wrong. Players were NOT trapped in a beta. The first two episodes even made a big deal about how the beta was months ago. They were trapped in the first round of the live game.

    • AtmosContagion

      Yep, it’s where they get the term “beater” from in the series.

      For anyone that doesn’t know: the term “beater” refers to the “beta” players being cheaters because of their knowledge of some aspects of the game that the normal players weren’t as aware of (granted the beginners guide was apparently written by the beta players and shared for free or something). They make a big deal aboit this at the beginningnof the series. The beta happened long before any players were stuck inside the game.

      • Zekler

        hmm… you’re not completely right about the term beater. It was Kirito himself that invented the word beater and him alone is called beater not every beta tester since he was the best beta player.

        • Babbalui

          Partially incorrect. Someone called him a “beater” after fumbling with the combination of “beta” and “cheater” and he then adopted it under the pretense that most other beta testers were not as skilled, thus he alone willingly accepted the hate/envy of others by role of “beater” so the other beta testers wouldn’t suffer the same prejudice. You could equate him to the “Dark Knight” of Aincrad.

        • Ragef33

          He’s the only character who’s known in canon to be called a “beater”. That said, “beaters” in the series were basically players who hogged all the good farming spots to themselves, and restricted information, which (presumably) caused some deaths at the start of the game.

        • Josh Hines

          You’re very wrong about the term beater and he def wasn’t the only one ever referred to as one

        • Horizon bolt
      • Horizon bolt
    • Okabe Kun

      Sadly, it really is looking more and more like a giant ad gimmick…. Though, it might not just be a giant advertisement- the people involved in beta testing are not permitted to bring hardly anything. in the FAQ page they specifically said no camera’s or tripods or anything. ( if it were an advertisement, one might think they would love to have pictures of the event taken) granted, the beta testing IS limited to 20 min each… Perhaps it IS an advertisement- one that will eventually lead up into the vr experience being turned into a full-scale mmo sometime in the future.

      ah, right- here’s a link to the website, in case anyone else is interested in doing their own investigation-

      • Strikesky

        “Perhaps it IS an advertisement- one that will eventually lead up into the vr experience being turned into a full-scale mmo sometime in the future.”
        This is kind of what I’m hoping for. Even if it is just an advertisement, it’s still possible that a game is what they’re leading up to. The advertisement could be a test to see how well the technology will work and if it’s possible at all for the current tech to successfully make and play a game.

      • Horizon bolt
      • Tomi Gt

        they have the website for sale now. doesnt exist any more rip

    • Horizon bolt
  • thamer aljeri

    the game in the anime wasn’t in Beta.. it was a full game after the beta phase. I was reading the article until you explained it wrong.

  • kyle boroczk

    im not really let down/ it was obvious that it would take a while for the game itself along with the technology to make the game

  • Shane Chapman

    if its no a MMO/game then it is a pointless wast of time and money. yay graphics on a screen with a gutless black box of code. its a stupid VR experience if this is the case and they are doing nothing new then. Like what the hell is the point in Watson? a render cloud? FWOR ( Fucking waste of resources )…… as in a TOTAL waste.

  • asdfggg

    gg, nerd

  • Ian Leonard

    Jesus everyone really! How many people have said already “The story doesn’t take place in the beta!” I mean for real we get it quit correcting the guy who probably never even saw the show before writing this article… Ok!

    • Ian Leonard

      Oh and also I have seen the show and was confused when he said that but still I wasn’t going to say anything until I read all these comments… I mean for real people.

  • SAO

    Thanks for the info. :( when I read it was a real let down. But! I bet they will make SAO in the future! :D I mean, look how far we have come! They created the oculus rift only awhile back, yet we expect to be able to do all the things in SAO. Sure it sounded cool at first, but sounded to good to be true sadly :(. Don’t lose hope! I think soon they will make SAO. Or at least that is what I want to think…

  • Coinmanmat

    This article is 100% speculation. No actually factsv are stated to back up the claims given here. I am a fan of Sword Art Online and I know as much as I want a real SAO game to happen because no offense the ones that have been out now all pretty much suck. (I’ve played them) until the event actually happens in March we won’t know. IBM is being sketchy on details, if this was just a publicity stunt they wouldn’t be so secretive about it. Also they wouldn’t just limit it to 208 people. I’m not saying that this is an actual legit game in development but this claim about it being fake doesn’t really add up

  • Samantha Arthur

    First, they met with Kawahara, NOT Kayaba. Kawahara is the author of the books. I can’t find a mention of a Kayaba anywhere on that site.

    • benz145

      Multiple mentions of Kayaba are found in the introduction text (in Japanese) on the official site, and it talks about him meeting with an IBM researcher. Shun Kubota, the Japanese journalist I quoted in the article confirmed this.

    • Horizon bolt
  • Horizon bolt

    You bring up good points and make a compelling argument but I don’t want you to be right. So as a compromise I’ll say your wrong and not do anything about it, you say your right and do whatever. Then when stuff happens either your right or we have this so win/win for you and I say eh saw it coming. Deal?

  • Crystian

    Also the tampering with the nerve-gear wasn’t that didn’t allow them to move it because it blocked the brain waves. They were in a trance like state putting the nerve-gear on. It was simply liking their virtual selves with the it actual selves. If they died in the game they died for real because the nerve-gear would overload (or something to that effect) and fry their brains. If tried to be unplugged or have the nerve-gear removed they would also die in the same fashion.

  • Dude are stupid or an idiot? NO ONE is EXPECTING a game EXACTLY like in the anime! WE KNOW that currently thats impossible with our current level or technology! But its going to be using the next big thing “players of Sword Art Online: The Beginning won’t be using their
    minds to control their character. Instead, they’ll be using their own
    body as motion controls for the game.”I nstead, they’ll be using their own
    body as motion controls for the game. using their own
    body as motion controls. using their own
    body. BODY! Get it? Also a little side note we are in 26 february 2016 until 2022 there is still time for development to be done. NOTE! I AM NOT saying that in 2022 the nerve gear will be 100% real. But there is a possibility it will.

  • Sharman

    Hold on everyone. Maybe it isn’t what we all wanted. Maybe it isn’t going to be a full game… yet. If what this post saids is true then its a TEST!!! We are in 2016 people. They are calling this the year of VR. So stop with the negativity please. The technology currently exists in a more or less prototype stage. And the race for a full immersion virtual reality system is underway. Its the end goal and every company that is participating wants to win that race because it will be huge. Trust me. I could see this being a real thing within the next 10 years or even less. We are constantly pushing the limits of our technology and we have yet to hit a wall we can’t break through. VR will not only make the gaming community happy but will change the world as we know it. New social media will be developed, Advanced graphical design, new mental medical treatments the list goes on. Of course this is one of humanities goals. Besides if this is the real deal (which o hope it is personally) then we won’t see it available until another 1 maybe 2 years. Its uncharted waters we’re stepping in and we have to be careful. So don’t give up yet it is coming. Wait till March. See what happens next.
    My point being its a TEST!!!

    • Za Dragoneel

      Yes maybe by 2022 we can actually have a PC or console that can support NERVEGEAR like headset and full immersion

    • Tomi Gt

      its 2020. idk if there is any news abt it

  • S-Y G

    This could be a big deal. Watson is a NLP, IE and ML system that is easily able to process natural speech and provide answer on any subjects. More than that, you could train it to answer in the _style_ of these text… If what it reads is every fantasy book ever written by man, then it’d basically be able to shit out procedurally generated lore …

  • Jason Chu

    As an ex-IBM engineer myself, I believe this article’s writer is too easily came to a conclusion with someone in the VR industry who are not from IBM (that makes him an “unofficial” indirect competitor of IBM). Yes, I do agree IBM love marketing gimmicks to promote their technology, they did that all the time. However, Cognitive Computing technology is a very real thing with complex AI capability, it is designed to mimic human thinking process and thus act like a natural human brain, this is what makes it different between IBM and the rest of the VR companies.

    So, it is still too early to tell what IBM can do and capable to do with the SAO-alike VR gaming technology. Just like when Oculas first introduced VR headset, it is a mind blowing news that many did thought that it is just another gimmick, but a few years later and see what it has evolved today? Don’t underestimate the technologies and financial capabilities of IBM, internally it was said that the technology you see in the news now usually was first working on around 20 years ago.

    One thing is certain, your support to this “marketing gimmick” will determine if IBM would continue this SAO’s VR gaming research or not. Just like any other newly developed technology, please be positive, have high hopes and supportive instead of simply bashing it aside without letting it have chance to thrive.

  • thisdumbazzicanttakeitanymore
  • bomberwow

    heyy wait a second what if the game IS actually coming out. The article itself said it was a DEMO. What if there is just the slightiest ray of hope for us SAO fans and actually they are developing he game. This is my point of view:
    This is a VR DEMO and they said it wont be comming out right? ok so what if a ”soon” is missing and the developers of the DEMO are waiting to release the game in 2022 just like in the anime to give everyone a SuperAmazingMegaUltra surprise?

    Just hope is left

  • 艾希莉

    actually i just wanna say that the article have sth got wrong about sao project.

    Firstly, i think it is acceptable that an alpha test take place in a public area have time limitation. it is impossible for all 208 person to test in tokyo for all 3 days, due to source restriction. and it will make a bad testing environment for testers i think. hence everyone is limited for using 20 mins and let the others to try after 20 mins is fair to everyone isn’t?

    and the more important thing is that the sao setting is not in beta@@ as everybody here mentioned. ( already mentioned that sword art online is an ob type game and the beta days have passed several months ago

    moreover is that the website( did mentioned Dr. Kayaba Akihiko several times in the introduction and prologue. however what it mean in the introduction is kayaba’s theory is suppose to be still staying in a dream , but with IBM’s technology and cooperation, there may be a chance to goal kayaba’s theory in the future and now starts __2016. and in the prologue part, it mentioned many times kayaba’s name and the whole thing shares about the experience that kayaba have, and his theory and point of view before he invented sao, and it NEVER MENTIONED A WORD IBM so your statement that kayaba met with ibm researcher is wrong.

    and also for your evidence about the (1→10) company, it is not a company which create marketing experience for pepsi, it also participate in alot of invention projects for example robot pepper in japan. and the event of the pepsi vr doesn’t mean that this time sao the beginning is ALSO ONLY a marketing event, both events doesn’t have direct relationship.

    and for the part that you have spoken with shun kubota do you have any evidence to prove that you have been talking with him and also the dialogue is that real?

    and also the last thing wanna say is that even though only 20 mins for each person to test, it doesn’t mean is only a booth , or it doens’t mean the whole project is a liar, and it doesn’t mean that the project will just stop here as they finished their advertising mission and not gonna continue the project, and also doesn’t mean that sao can’t come true in the future. personally, the facts are all gonna be shown on 18 march but not now, SO I PERSONALLY THINK THAT DONT MAKE YOUR OWN GUESS AND TRY TO MAKE IT INTO A FACT AND REALITY. thx

  • Michael Borean

    While playing Sword Art World on launch day, the players get trapped inside due to someone tampering with their NerveGear headsets, which inhibit their brainwaves while they are inside the game, making them unable to move in the ‘real’ (fictional) world. If someone takes the headset off of them in the ‘real’ world, they die. So they are stuck.

    False. The brainwaves being inhibited wasn’t a tampering. That’s how it was designed. The log out button was removed. THAT was tampering, in the loosest sense of the word. The brainwaves were made to not let you move the body because if you could move, it would cause problems. The headset being removed would activate a microwave that would fry the brain. That’s also how it kills people if they die in the game. Entirely unrelated to them not being able to move their bodies. Seriously, for someone who harps on nuance, you screwed that up terribly.

    • benz145

      I see how you could read this as you did, but I did not say that the tampering caused the brainwaves to be inhibited. It is well understood and clearly shown in the show that this is always the default function of the headsets. What I said was that the reason players became trapped in the game was due to tampering. The adjoining sentences describe the NerveGear headset, not the tampering.

      • Michael Borean

        In that case, I recommend a full stop.

  • Alex Trakas

    Maybe you have a point. But then again, it’s just an alpha release. That’s why only 208 people will get to see it so that no one would let their hopes down. That’s why it is only 20 min experience ‘couse it is not a full release. I don’t really get it why you think negatively about it.

  • Centyow^^

    Its just a Beta Test..
    So if failed, its Failed.
    If Succeed, its Succeed.

    Don’t expect too much..

  • Jason Chu

    I wonder why people keep focusing on the Full-dive VR technology only, they are disappointed when it is not about that. In SAO story, one of the most important technology is the AI can create new mission in real time based on the gamer’s behavior and personality, thus it will need “Yui”, the supportive AI that monitor every gamer’s though and analyze their emotion. This is exactly what IBM Watson is capable of (Cognitive Computing) and they are showing it off through this event.

  • Yuki_Sakuma

    so suicide is a go afterall? :(

  • Tmanoftheundead

    I beg to differ. Damnit anything is just about possible with science.

  • Julian Ying

    Another glaring error, the NerveGears weren’t tampered with, they were supposed to restrict the players movements so they won’t go around looking like an idiot waving invisible swords around and getting hit in the balls by a boar (insert Klein here). It’s actually something ingenious considering that it just widen the scope from a certain limited space to just limitless. Kayaba didn’t tamper with the NerveGears he created, he made them that way. Space/land in Japan is expensive you know?

    • benz145

      Not a glaring error, you misread the text of the article. The reason players were stuck inside was due to someone acting maliciously (tampering), it was never implied that the headsets weren’t designed to inhibit brainwaves by default.

      • Julian Ying

        No, Kayaba made the game that way on purpose on the launch of the game, when SAO was in the beta phase, it was still normal, but Kayaba removed the logout button in the actual game. The removing NerveGear part is that microwaves would melt the brain if somebody removed the headgear, therefore making them officially stuck in the game.

  • Chris

    The article that I have linked claims to have direct links from IBM, stating that they wish to bring the virtual reality of Sword Art Online to our livingrooms. This would direcly conflict with the articles claiming Sword Art Online: The Beginning to be fake. The intriguing point to make in regards to this article is that it was only posted 3 days ago, which was after all of the articles claiming Sword Art Online The Beginning to be a fluke (given all the articles spawned from “The Road to VR” article which has a lot of errors regarding the game and series itself). Take a look and tell me what you think.

  • Zarif

    Well I honestly I’m not disappointed but rather more excited lol!
    If this demo is successful, it will be an amazing step forward for IBM and developers as they have a basis to work on if Sword Art Online The Beginning is successful. Probably in years time or so. We might get the full game thx to something like this!

  • Glen

    I get what you’re saying, but I did research and I’d like to confirm something. While it’s true that VR is just starting, I believe that a tech similar to the NerveGear is possible using a sort of Dream Technology. See, they’ve just started being able to gather and read dream data. Next phase would be to induce and manipulate your dream state. Doing that, you would be able to create an indream virtual MMO world. A machine would induce a dream and then shift the focus of your dream to the MMO. It’d be like tuning a radio. Obviously, it’s tech that’s quite a ways a way, but it will be possible. There would be notices in game reminding you that’s it’s not real so you wouldn’t die of a heart attack or anything.

  • Gabriel Alexandre

    Yes, it’s gonna happen. It was confirmed by IBM Brazil:

  • Wilza

    “players get trapped inside due to someone tampering with their NerveGear headsets, which inhibit their brainwaves while they are inside the game, making them unable to move in the ‘real’ (fictional) world.”
    No, that’s how the NerveGear always was, it takes the signals sent from your brain and uses them to move your ingame avatar – otherwise their real body would be flailing around while they were playing the game. It wasn’t tampered with. They couldn’t leave the game because of the removal of a log out function in the game that was there previously.

  • Lee

    read this your sources have nothing like this, this source is actually a better visual aid for people who likes to shoot down others dream it might be true that it might take a long time before the full game happens it also might mean that they are going into making VR games

  • sara

    I had hope it was a game so could play how old do you have to be

  • Nathaniel Bobo

    These guys are bullshit and have no legitimate proof it’s fake is this also not real remove your fucking article!!!

  • Slawek

    Some1 can pass me a gun? ;_; -.-

  • Shiro Yatogami

    it doesn’t really matter if it’s just a marketing a stunt or the real thing what’s important is the fact that our hardware is getting almost half closer to the real thing that in itself is a major gain to both the fans and the industry and one day maybe 2-5 years from now where most of the people can have access to the hardware needed to run this game we would have less doubt that the company that’s funding this would make a this real a thing.

    that is all.

  • Marcus Nilsson

    This article is fake, as every other article, they even made a TV interview in japan of this project, where it’s said that they are making a VR mmorpg.

    Which you would have known. Also here is a video from a reporter.

    • Marcus Nilsson

      “we’ve actualy seen something almost identical before.”
      Yes but this is the difference they are 2 different companies.

      I’ve seen articles like this, using their “theories” but in the end it is what they themselves think and not the truth.

      With that said, wait until 2021 and you’ll see the game. as that would be the date that they said it would be released or have a stable version at least.

  • Baltrumas

    it says on the website that it is just for marketing, its at the very bottom in small print. it says that with the demo just imagine what could be possible using the cognitive computing that IBM is making. But with that being said and with the demo done, it would certainly be possible to make the game a reality in the future.

  • aa

    Lol, it is real, you need to have just a litle trust ;) Alpha test wasnt so long ago and Ive seen a lot of videos from there

    • Tomi Gt

      well it is now

  • Gajeel Redfox

    you know, you may be right with that but that doesn’t mean that there will never be a time when something like the nerve gear comes out. As we have seen with many other experiences, i bet before there were electronics or the internet or even electricity no one even thought about it. Also in the past others probably thought that it was impossible to advance as far as we have with computers, TVs, phones, etc. So i think that there is a big chance that with some study this world can come up with something like the nerve gear. its all part of scientific advancement

  • Mest Gryder

    too bad this is still far away from the one nervegear like in sao this one is just like..oculust rift?.. yeah something like that not a full dive T-T too sad if just the real nervegear exist the one like in the anime

  • LazariaMoone

    Ok, first of all, I just wanted to point out that this article is a real soul sucker for the people out there who are really counting on SAO being released in the 2020s, me included, and there is nothing to support these so called facts. So what, you got ONE person’s account on the thing, who as I have read in the comments wasn’t even INVOLVED in the project itself, and the information about the anime in this article is wrong in so many ways as many people have already said in the comments. Now, I don’t know about any of you, but I say that before you write an article out to crush thousands of peoples dreams, you should actually have some REAL FACTS from people that are ACTUALLY INVOLVED and more than ONE PERSON’s view on the thing. Now I may only be in high school, but i’ll tell you what, if I can tell what this article REALLY IS, lots of other people can also. DONT STOP BELIEVING PEOPLE! right now they are still developing the game, and of course its going to take some time, Its not like they can pull a perfect game out of their behinds I mean REALLY, BE REALISTIC HERE. If you were making the game and you didn’t have everything figured out yet, wouldn’t you at least let the players play for 20 minutes at a time? cause if there WAS some more bugs, you would want to test them and not risk the testers themselves because you wanted to show off the game. Most of you people who commented on this have very good insight on this subject and how it is not telling real facts, and I totally agree with that. I LOVE SAO, and I absolutely hate to see someone spreading a rumor that is biased that says it isn’t going to happen. I mean, that’s what this whole thing is, is BIASED. you didn’t cite any evidence of where you got the information, you only got quotes from ONE PERSON. ONE! one is NEVER enough. you AT LEAST need two or three other perspectives. that’s like if two little kids have a fight over who did what and you only listen to one side of the story and totally ignore the other side. Whoever wrote this article was very ignorant of that, and in honest opinion, before this should have been posted, it should have been revised and checked to make sure that the facts were actual facts and not just assumptions. So let this badly written article teach others a very good and basic lesson: before you write an article like this: GET THE REAL FACTS! A fact is not an assumption of what you THINK or HEARD is real. A fact is hard evidence that you could back up. So please people, don’t make the same mistake as this person did, and remember, DONT STOP BELIEVING! don’t let this article let you down, because sooner or later, most likely sooner, SAO The Beginning WILL be available to the world, it just may take some time. if you have any questions, please email me at

  • Saoru Andrakynus

    Do you really believe the world would use VR technology for shit like SAO? Fools.

    • mangamasiah630

      if not for imagination or gaming vr wouldn’t be a thing sword art online is both of those personified

  • nick

    they should not be using screens but enter the dreams and try to crack away to let us play in are dreams then VR then that would be the next big gaming console for us who ever cracks it will get alot of money

  • Brandon

    It might come out in 2022

  • Damian Abreu – Lopez

    Though not real. It is 100% possible.

  • 『 』

    I’m pretty sure when someone defines what’s a human consciousness really is, then VR MMO is not a dream anymore.