Chapter 123 – Revolution (2)
The first one to board the Asrian train was NASA.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration…
As soon as Kwon DaeHo finished his announcement, NASA made a press release announcing their massive expansion.
They had decided to open research facilities in Asrian!
Because of that, even after the announcement was over, news related to Asrian kept coming out.
Judging by how fast research institutes made their moves, it seemed like they’d received information beforehand, but the public had a hard time understanding what had happened at first.
– What are they talking about? Opening a research institute inside a game?
– I also don’t understand… Can someone explain?
– It seems like it’s because Asrian is a virtual reality that’s very similar to the real world. It’s a very unusual case.
– Anyway, it doesn’t have anything to do with us, right?
– Yes. You just have to game as always, lol.
Regardless of the reaction from the community, the NFM’s stock started to rise again.
The price of gold from trading websites became more expensive as well.
Kwon DaeHo’s announcements always had a huge effect, but he had shaken up the world that time.
Its influence spread slowly at first but became faster over time.
<21 U.S.A Universities Announce Plans to Open Research Centers in Asrian!>
As NASA and some other big organizations started to move, universities worldwide started to act as well.
Kwon DaeHo had said that they wouldn’t put any restrictions on how they used Asrian.
Another world that was very similar to the real one!
But it was a world regulated by a system rather than laws.
From the point of view of research institutes, they gained free access to a state-of-art simulator just by buying a capsule and paying a small fee to play the game.
‘What? What is Asrian?’
At that point, even people who weren’t interested in games started to visit capsule rooms to try out Asrian.
After experiencing sensory synchronization for the first time, they became surprised.
‘This game… there isn’t that much of a difference from the real world?!’
‘When did capsule technology advance so much?’
There were even CEOs from top companies playing it!
Those people, who were very sensitive toward changes in the world, saw the game as another means to earn more.
After getting information from reading the news, they naturally began thinking the following:
‘Even the universities are doing it, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. They said that it doesn’t take a lot of money to build… Should I open a branch of the company there? I’m even going to save on the cost of land and construction.’
People from the entertainment industry were thinking similar things.
‘Let’s organize a concert inside the game! If the response is good, we’re going to be able to save up a lot of money by not having to rent facilities!’
All the senses except for pain had been reproduced within the game.
That meant you wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from real life.
Not only that, but ‘Asra,’ the planet where the game took place, was much bigger than Earth.
Each of those characteristics was a huge merit for a world based on virtual reality.
Asrian’s true value was starting to show thanks to Kwon DaeHo’s announcement.
The speed at which it spread was faster than when the Internet started to gain traction.
But for Asrian to settle in the real world took at least six more months.
That was something that happened later in the future.
Later, the jobs inside the game replaced jobs like architects or technicians, among others.
Funny things like people farming experience to be able to ascend to a job companies wanted started to happen.
It was an era where you put your Asrian level on your CV!
But that was also a story of a distant future.
Most current users were more interested in the ‘Tournament System’ rather than Kwon DaeHo’s announcement.
* * *
Hyun checked the video of Kwon DaeHo’s announcement from Ain’s smartphone. He tilted his head after watching it.
“What does he mean?”
“I’m not sure. Didn’t he say that Asrian is a game that’s more similar to real life than we think?”
“Hmm… Is that good? I haven’t noticed that many differences except for the sensory synchronization.”
SeoHyun thought about it for a while but couldn’t find any significant differences.
The first game with sensory synchronization…
But even if it were similar to real life, wasn’t it still just a game?
Hyun wasn’t particularly interested in physics, so he struggled to understand Kwon DaeHo’s words. He also couldn’t understand what made Asrian similar to the real world.
“Well, I think this will be good for us. If the game we’re playing becomes more popular, our videos will probably start to get more traction too.”
“Yes, that’s right!”
If all the news sites were full of articles related to Asrian… That would be great publicity for the game, right?
That was what SeoHyun and Ain got out of Kwon DaeHo’s announcement.
Later in the future, they would realize that views weren’t the only important effect of what he had announced, but for those two, who only knew about gaming, guessing what would happen a few months in the future was hard to do.
“Hyun, check this out. The tournament system has been announced!”
SeoHyun’s head turned around at Ain’s shout.
That was what both of them were interested in from the beginning. They soon forgot about Kwon DaeHo’s important announcement.
Compared to Kwon DaeHo’s announcement, the details of the tournament system were lackluster since they consisted of a webpage post.
Hyun finally nodded after reading the contents.
“It seems like the management organizes the tournament.”
“What does that mean?”
“The developers and management are completely separated.”
That’s what SeoHyun understood.
He thought that the ones who had developed Asrian were NFM… But from what he understood from the announcement, it was Kwon DaeHo and his researchers who had created it.
Basically, Kwon DaeHo and the researchers were the developers. and the employees of NFM were the management.
While the management couldn’t interfere with Asrian, it seemed like they’d become in charge of organizing the tournaments and stuff.
‘That’s why they were able to change the rules of the tournament… This seems more entertaining to see than a simple PvP’
SeoHyun slowly began reading about the rules of the tournament.
There was a rumor that said that levels and specs were going to become useful… But that wasn’t true.
According to the rules, professional gamers had to level up and learn new skills just like normal users.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
That was different from other games where the only thing that mattered was the control.
Wouldn’t professional gamers complain?
SeoHyun wasn’t sure, but he thought that there probably wouldn’t be an uproar if it were that.
‘I’ll have to wait and see, but the system seems okay.’
SeoHyun thought to himself that he should remember to go and see Stardust’s exhibition match, the team JaeHoon was part of.
‘It’s already night.’
The first day of the festival had ended.
SeoHyun and Ain were walking along the road where they could see the night view of Busan’s sea.
The glittering view of the seaside city disturbed their eyes.
Cities around the coast like Busan had been running out of land for a while. Ten years before, they began constructing buildings on the sea.
The natural sea wasn’t bad, but Hyun felt the artificial sea looked a bit more luxurious.
“Hyun, what are you going to do tonight?”
Hyun came back to his senses at Ain’s question.
“Oh yeah… I originally wasn’t intending to stay here for the night…”
Hyun had planned to return to his home once the first day was over.
He had already bought the return ticket, after all.
Since his aim was to become the best in Asrian, he couldn’t take a break. Not only that, but he had more things he wanted to test.
“Should I stay one more day…?”
He had promised to go and see JaeHoon’s match the next day.
That was the superficial reason… But honestly, he had fun at the festival and wanted to enjoy it a little bit more.
Not only that, but hanging out with Ain was fun, too.
It was the first time he had so much fun in the real world.
“It’s not like they’ll catch up just because I rest for a day. Also, when am I going to have another day like this?”
After nodding alone, he canceled the train ticket.
But at that moment…
Just as if she’d been waiting for him to cancel the ticket, she slowly asked a question.
“Do you have a place to sleep?”
“I’m not sure…”
Since Hyun answered too carelessly, Ain informed him of something.
Most hotels around the festival were already fully booked out.
He hadn’t intended to stay at night, so he didn’t know that. He began thinking of a solution.
Should he stay in a sauna around there?
Or maybe spend the entire night playing in a capsule room?
“See? You can’t do anything without me.”
Ain smiled mischievously and showed him her smartphone.
The VIP invitation…
The user who had received the invitation could get free accommodation for up to four people.
“Oh?! This place is…”
Hyun’s eyes widened after checking out the location of the hotel.
“Isn’t this the hotel that just opened? The super expensive one!”
“You’re probably right.”
“It seems like NFM earned a lot of money with Asrian. To think that they’d invite people to stay there…”
SeoHyun quickly checked out the information.
“Woah… It seems like there are even individual capsules in the rooms. We won’t need to go to a capsule room. We can game the entire night!”
“Th-that’s right, but…”
“As expected from Ain, you’re the best. Today’s assist is just like what you did on Iluna!”
When would he have another chance to stay in a hotel like that?
Hyun expectantly walked toward the VIP-only accommodation.
* * *
The morning sun coming through the window woke SeoHyun up.
As soon as he got up, the previous night’s memories returned to his mind.
Thanks to the capsules that were in the hotel, they had played Asrian until 4am.
They hunted and even dueled a few times.
He didn’t know why, but Ain was more aggressive than usual, so he lost all of the rounds.
“Oof, it’s already nine.”
SeoHyun left the room to shower after getting out of bed.
He let out a groan after looking at the living room.
“Hmm…? Why is she sleeping here?”
Leaving her room aside, Ain was sleeping on a sofa, cuddling with a pillow.
Ain was still sleeping when he came out of the shower. Hyun logged into Asrian.
He played with Louise for about 30 minutes while checking out some things, and when he logged off, Ain was still sleeping.
‘Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen her log in on a morning.’
Even on weekends, Ain logged in after lunch. It seemed like she was one of the people who woke up late.
Ten in the morning…
SeoHyun looked at Ain, who was sitting on a bed on the other side of the room while making low breathing noises.
To be honest, meeting Ain inside the game after seeing her in real life made him feel strange.
He always used «Assimilation» while hunting. Because of that, they knew about each other’s thoughts and feelings, so there was no way he hadn’t noticed her feelings.
Also, he couldn’t say he didn’t have those feelings either.
Hyun shook his head while looking at her.
Hyun let out a small laugh.
He remembered the first time he’d seen her.
When he thought about it, he realized that she had always been by his side, both in Asra and Asrian.
Although he was surprised after seeing her real face, he was more used to it than the werewolf character she’d used to play with in Asra.
They say that people don’t value what’s close to them.
He realized how grateful he was to her after he reviewed some gameplay footage.
He also felt sorry.
He acted petty just to get some trivial gains in the beginning.
But even then, Ain never got offended because of it.
He was wondering why she didn’t seem to mind meeting offline.
She was at an age where you couldn’t say that she didn’t know the real world.
‘I should take better care of her.’
During Asra… No, even during the beginning of Asrian, he’d only cared for his own interests.
But as time went on, he began caring about those around him.
Those past few months, he had changed his way of thinking.
Ain was probably one of the reasons why he’d changed.
Although she was younger than him, she was more mature in many aspects.
That morning, SeoHyun had time to think and reflect on his actions.
‘Yes, I should also start paying TarrTarr properly.’
If it were the old him, he would’ve tried to take advantage of his innocence and profit from him as much as possible, but now he was different.
He needed to take care of the people who trusted and followed him.
SeoHyun thought that he had matured a bit and felt proud about it.