Walkthrough of IBM’s Sword Art Online VR Demo

This 10-minute video report shows what the lucky 208 applicants got to experience in Tokyo over the weekend.

Last month IBM teased us all with a Sword Art Online virtual reality game that turned out to be less game and more marketing demo to show what the company’s technology could do.

Sword Art Online is a hugely popular series of light novels with successful jumps into manga, anime and games. So it’s an understatement to say that a few were disappointed when they found out that this VRMMO game may never see the day of light.

This weekend however, a select group of lucky individuals got to actually experience the VR demo at a special “Alpha” demo event in Japan.


3D-body scanning avatar creation.

Anime Consortium Japan’s Daisuki posted a 10-minute video of their entire walkthrough of IBM’s Sword Art Online: The Beginning virtual reality demo Monday morning.

Starting the video, reporter Eri Maruyama takes us through orientation with a room full of lab-coat-wearing technicians and then to the 3D-body scanning avatar creation as part of the setup for players.


According to the video, users are given special pairs of shoes that are motion tracked and don a “Nervegear” prototype helmet. Attached to the helmet is an Oculus Rift DK2 headset with Ovrvision stereo camera and Leap Motion sensor to help track hand manipulation. The user’s body is also tracked with a Microsoft Kinect 2 sensor.

Once setup is complete, we get a look at actual gameplay with sword fighting and hugging in what appears to be an excited group of alpha test users.


Four users enter the VR world of Sword Art Online together.

The beginning of the demo places users in a “bazaar” environment, letting the them test their abilities, manipulate virtual world objects with their hands, and interact with the other three users in this multiplayer demo. The demo concludes with the users fighting a giant demon-type boss known as The Gleam Eyes.

Close to 100,000 excited fans signed up to play this “Alpha” demo that took place in Tokyo from March 18-20. Only 208 applicants were chosen.


On Friday, IBM shared demo gameplay footage leading up to the Tokyo event (shown below). Considering all the disappointed fans from the initial teaser trailer and some pretty rough looking gameplay footage, especially when compared to what we saw at GDC last week, this project still needs a lot of work.

We can see why IBM Japan has no plans to continue the project past this initial test.

Image Source: Daisuki

UPDATE: There is now an official video with additional footage of the experience that you can watch below.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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