Virtual reality gaming headset from Fove O, a company that recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign, will have Asuna, a character from popular Japanese anime Sword Art Online, greeting and interacting with players.
Asuna, one of the leading protagonists from immensely popular Japanese anime Sword Art Online, has been included in a program built for the Fove O Virtual Reality (VR) gaming headset, reportedly featuring industry-leading eye-tracking capabilities. Players wearing the VR headset can have the SAO experience, with Asuna catching their attention and interacting with them by intelligently sensing if the players are looking at her.
Sword Art Online will have its third season arriving in April. Additionally, the popular franchise will also have its second full-length animated feature film make its debut soon. The SAO experience was reportedly created to honor the upcoming Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (2017) film. Incidentally, the Fove O VR gaming headset was officially launched in the last week of January 2017. The headset’s official availability has been restricted to Japan and Korea. Moreover, the makers plan to complete the pre-orders in the local markets. The availability is quite restricted as well. The headset is said to be available only till July 31. There’s no indication that the SAO “Welcome Experience” will be available outside Japan and Korea. But given the fact that Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale is being prepped for Western audiences, the makers might offer the VR experience to the English-speaking fans of the Japanese anime.
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The SAO experience is meant to showcase the advanced eye-tracking abilities infused in the Fove O VR gaming headset. The technology is able to decipher where exactly the player wearing the VR headset is looking. Owing to the abilities of the headgear, Asuna will be able to judge if the player is looking at her and strike up a conversation. SAO’s Asuna is supposed to act as a concierge to new users.
What does the SAO “Welcome Experience” offer?
Once a player looks at Asuna, she will strike up a conversation. However, a cursory look directly at her will elicit a cute smile. In other words, the eye tracking will ensure that Asuna knows if the player is looking at her right in the eye or merely giving her a glance. Interestingly, the VR headset will also evoke a range of emotions based on how and where the player looks when Asuna is talking to them. In case the player ignores her, she could get upset. However, a prolonged or lingering gaze will invite her wrath. In a video that hints at Asuna’s reaction, Haruka Tomatsu, Asuna’s Japanese-language voice actor says that, “Asuna will even get angry if you ogle her for too long.” Unfortunately, the entire video is in Japanese, but the subtitles and demo help understand the product.
Fove is the result of a Kickstarter campaign and is considered one of the first of the “next generation of VR headsets.” Priced at $599, the Fove O VR gaming headset was launched worldwide late last year. The San Francisco-based company has managed to secure over $11 million in three separate funding rounds. Noted companies like Samsung Ventures, Colopl VR Fund, and Foxconn Technology Group have backed the product.
As reported by the Inquisitr earlier, the SAOexperience doesn’t appear to be part of any game, but instead, it is a rather brief interactive program meant to showcase Fove O’s advanced eye-tracking abilities. However, given the ability of the headset to reportedly track eye movement and execute functions, the experience could soon be embedded within VR games.
[Featured Image by Reki Kawahara/Sword Art Online/ASCII Media Works]