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The Whole-Body Gaming Experience!

Technology Gaming

IBM held a press event for its “Sword Art Online: The Beginning,” a virtual reality demonstration on March 17, 2016 giving users complete control of their scanned avatar. Japanese gaming news website Inside Games posted videos of the demonstration area allowing you to see the players exploring their environment.

Those who participate in the demonstration will be able to scan their bodies, which will then be rendered as 3-D avatars for the demonstration. Users are then able to manipulate their in-game avatar using a variety of hardware, including an Oculus Rift (Developer Kit 2) for head-tracking and VR visuals, Leap Motion and Ovrvision for hand manipulation, a Microsoft Kinect 2 for body movement, and special footwear to detect foot movement.

The hardware is labeled “Nervegear Prototype.” “Nervegear” is the name of the virtual reality hardware used by the characters in the original Sword Art Online story to interact with the game.

The beginning of the demonstration places users in a “bazaar” environment, allowing them to test their ability to manipulate world objects. Later in the demonstration, users are able to fight the Gleam Eyes (from the 74th floor of the game in the original story), alongside three other users.

IBM Japan refers to the project as a "virtual reality massive multiplayer online role playing game (VRMMORPG)," although it hasn’t laid out any plans to continue the project past the initial test, nor has it specified if the alpha test will be the precursor to a larger VRMMORPG project.

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