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The Sword Art Online virtual reality MMO isn't real

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Unfortunately, it turns out that IBM isn't working on a full-on Sword Art Online MMO with Watson, SoftLayer, and virtual reality technology combining to render your own body in the game. News to that effect circulated last week, but as Road to VR points out, it was a misunderstanding brought on by the confusingly meta ties to Sword Art Online itself — the anime, manga, and novel series deals with futuristic VR MMO worlds, and IBM is playing off this for a marketing event.

The Verge asked IBM to confirm whether the game is a real MMO in development or a shorter standalone experience, and a spokesperson replied that "It is the latter, involving an event from March 18th to 20th, 2016 in Tokyo that will allow a select group of participants to experience this VR game Sword Art Online, brought to life with IBM's SoftLayer cloud service." Which could still be cool — who knows! But it won't be the full online alternate reality that you may have been looking forward to plugging into at home.