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IBM's Sword Art Online isn't happening. Sorry folks.

Sword Art Online as a VR MMO isn't happening, but here are some things in the same genre that you should check out instead!

Earlier this year, we heard news that IBM was in the process of making a Virtual Reality MMO version of Sword Art Online. That apparently isn't happening due to things lost in translation, but instead, the company is sticking to a stand-alone experience that's currently available to a few lucky alpha testers in Tokyo this week.

So while they are showcasing their SoftLayer (IBM's high spec cloud software that builds the real time world), this would be a good time to bring attention to other light novels where we hope for future games to spawn from.

1. Royal Road - The fictional VR MMO that takes place in the light Novel, The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. The story follows Lee Hyun, who sold his avatar for around 3.1 billion won (2.6 million USD), only for loan sharks to take almost all of it away from an inherited loan. Since then, he began playing Royal Road to regain his lost fortune and help his surviving family make ends meet. Add in getting tricked into making choices through misunderstandings too, and it's a pretty good read.

You can read it officially here. If you are interested, there is a manga adaptation which is worth taking a look at, too.

2. New World - The protagonist of this light novel, "Ark", is applying for an exam in a company called Global Exos. In comparison with Lee Hyun in Royal Road, he wasn't raised in poverty, but due to a traffic accident caused by his father, his life collapsed and he has to pay for the damages. Because of that, he barely graduated from High School and lied on the job application.

"Ark" is currently completed, with the author creating a new series called "Ark: The Legend". If you are interested in Fantasy topics, I would recommend reading the first chapter here.

3. Sword Art Online - The game was supposedly the first of it's kind. Due to a rogue developer, when users entered, they couldn't log out unless they died. As a result, players have to go through each of the levels in the game to reach the final boss. If they beat them, they can then return to their normal lives. You can find out more about the novel series here.

4. Galaxian - A sequel to "Ark", this light novel by the author takes a step from the traditional fantasy setting and into a science fiction MMO. The main protagonist is the same, the story is still ongoing, but it is a whole new galaxy. I would recommend that you read Ark first, but you can find the link to it here.

5. Tate no Yuusha (Shieldbro) - This light novel takes a different approach to the genre, and throws the protagonist into a fantastical world with game-like elements. Cast aside due to his role as a tank, he is ostracized from the start and builds his character from the ground up. You can find the novel here and the manga version here.

Do you have any web novel you think should be added to the list? Let me know in the comments.

Published Mar. 17th 2016

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