IBM’s Supercomputer is Controlling a Massive Virtual Reality Game, and They Need Beta Testers

2. 25. 16 by Annabs Sanchez
Futurism M.A
Image by Futurism M.A
Enter the Game

IBM is helping to create Sword Art Online, and they’re looking for beta-testers.

Sword Art Online: The Beginning is powered by IBMs cognitive computing system Watson, which made its television debut in Jeopardy! in 2011, where it beat two of the show’s greatest champions, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, using a combination of natural language processing and machine learning.

Those selected for beta-testing will be scanned and a 3D model of themselves will be created, which they can then customize to create their in-game avatar.

Meet the Game

Written by Reki Kawahara, who also wrote Accel World, and illustrated by abec, Sword Art Online is a young adult manga set in the not too distant future of 2022, when a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) of the same name was released. In the game, participants put on a helmet called NerveGear, which lets them control their game avatars with their mind.


And oh,  and if they die in the game, well, they are really dead.

The good news is, the IBM version of Sword Art Online is no NerveGear. Meaning you don’t need to worry about whether you’ll come out alive when you suffer destruction in-game. SlashGear reports that the Sword Art Online: The Beginning will be made to support Oculus Rift and HTC vibe.

Also unlike in the in-game characters, 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.

“Something completely foreign from any other video game experience,” says Kawahara. IBM is now taking applications for 208 beta-testers until March 4, 2016. Selected applicants will test a prototype from March 18 and 20 in Tokyo.


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