Sword Art Online (SAO), the VR-centric manga and anime series, will soon be gracing the eyeballs of Fove 0 owners in a new VR experience featuring the series’ female protagonist, Asuna. The SAO experience was created to welcome new users and teach them how to use Fove 0, the first commercially available VR headset with integrated eye-tracking.

According to Anime News Network, Fove 0 users will be able to meet the series’ female protagonist Asuna, who acts as a sort of concierge to new users. The experience leverages the headset’s eye-tracking capabilities to give Asuna the ability to recognize when you’re looking at her—but more importantly where your eye drifts when she speaks. Looking at her right in the eye will elicit a smile, but ignore her and she’ll get upset. Haruka Tomatsu, Asuna’s Japanese-language voice actor, says in a video presenting the headset (Japanese only) that Asuna will even get angry if you ogle her for too long.

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The experience was created in honor of the upcoming Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (2017) film, and will be first made available in Japan and Korea starting January 31 with availability ending July 31, 2017. If you’re in either Japan or Korea, you can download the experience here. There’s still no word on when or if the SAO ‘welcome experience’ will be made available to Western audiences.


Fove, the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign and hailed as the first of the ‘next generation of VR headsets’, launched Fove 0 worldwide late last year at $599. The San Francisco-based company has since secured over $11m across 3 funding rounds with investors including Samsung Ventures, Colopl VR Fund, and Foxconn Technology Group.

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Sporting a single WQHD OLED 2560×1440 display (1280×1440 per eye), 70Hz refresh rate, and about a 100° field-of-view (FOV), Fove 0 is a modest offering specs-wise in comparison to current PC VR headsets like the Rift and Vive, which both have higher refresh rates, slightly higher FOV and dual displays for better interpupillary distance (IPD) fit, but makes up for it by packing an accurate and reliable infrared eye-tracking system that not only lets you use your eyes as an input device, but introduces a bevy of possibilities when it comes to making VR seem more real to users. Road to VR Executive Editor Benjamin Lang maintains a later prototype of the Fove 0 “serves as a solid proof of concept of what eye-tracking can add to virtual reality, and they’ve so far got an impressive headset to boot.” Check out the full hands-on article here.

Fove 0 is compatible with Valve’s OpenVR API, giving it basic access to a swath of SteamVR-compatible content. The company has since released their SDK which allows developers to integrate Fove support for projects built-in Unity, Unreal Engine, and Xenko.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.


  • David Herrington

    Ugh, why… just why. Couldn’t they have released this on any other platform than one that has a user base of 300 people??

    Fove is vaporware that will ultimately never takeoff and is only a tech demo for eye tracking. Since Fove will fail, this means that this experience will NEVER come to other headsets and the SAO makers will probably be burned and never return to mainstream VR.

    • Reclaimer_Leviathan

      Are you asking why they didn’t release an eye-tracking, Fove-specifc, introduction gimmick into a *non-Fove, non-eye-tracking headset*?

      Because… that’s a silly question on multiple levels. At least three levels.

      1.) Its eye-tracking. Vive and Rift aren’t.

      2.) It’s a concierge – Vive and Rift have been out for a bit. Intro time is over.

      3.) It’s not an SAO game. It’s not even a game. It’s not what made SAO fun to watch/read/experience.

      Three levels.

      You, also, don’t know Fove will fail.
      Also, also, SAO isn’t *that* good of a universe. Wouldn’t you rather have more depth? LoTR or Hitchhiker’s, maybe? StarWars or Trek? Literally anything well-received that isn’t 45% fan-service?

      • David Herrington

        Remind me in 1-2 years to show you how gen 2 versions of Vive and Rift HMD’s will both have Eye Tracking (which could use an experience like this), plus they will have so much more, like wireless built in, better resolution, lighter weight, etc. Fove is only a tech demo and I guarantee in the same time that gen 2 HMD’s come out they will either be bankrupt or sold to the highest bidder for their only useful tech.

        The ONLY reason they are still around today is that they have an HMD with eye tracking. Its not like they have a patent on the entire idea. Eye tracking is nothing new! I guarantee the other big companies have prototypes in the office as we speak.

        Lastly, SAO is amazing and if you say different then you are just crazy.

        • Get Schwifty!

          Give it time…. it’s bound to come to both Rift and Vive in time… and it will be probably that much better when it does…I really want to try out that ogle timer ;)

  • 1512064tr@gmail.com

    I got to get this ga me right now