Virtual Reality technology is coming in full force from companies like Samsung, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. It is one of the most important emerging technologies in our time.

We’ve seen demonstrations from Facebook’s Oculus Rift, which uses your smartphone as the source device to emulate VR. We have also have Microsoft’s HoloLens, which focuses on augmented reality and holograms to enhance the environment around you. So we know there’s a focus on enhancing everyday life but what about fully functional virtual realms? We’ve been a part of “virtual” realities since the beginning of console games, though they lacked the necessary technology to make you feel like you were actually in that world. Now with VR technology that wall is coming down and IBM is taking a monstrous leap into this new frontier.

IBM is using its Watson Cognitive Computing technology and SoftLayer cloud computing to create a massive multiplayer VR game called Sword Art Online: The Beginning.

If you don’t remember Watson is IBM’s supercomputer built in a cognitive system that uses natural language processing and machine learning. It was developed by IBM’s DeepQA project, led by David Ferrucci, and named after Thomas J. Watson, the first CEO of IBM. As of now Watson has been a question and answer machine but now its taking a giant leap.

The game will allow players to use a 3D scanner to create an avatar, which is then used in the game. It will also be supported on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with alpha testing starting next month with an estimated 208 testers.

Though the full game won’t be available until 2022, it’s still a massive undertaking to create a bridge between our reality and virtual reality. On a positive note players don’t have to worry about getting trapped in this new reality.