You keep asking: “What is a VTuber?” And that question begs an answer as you’re so curious about it? You’re not alone!
VTubers are definitely captivating the world of online entertainment and getting massive popularity among audiences. In fact, as of 2021, they’re reaching up to 16000 content creators. You heard that right!
VTuber stands for virtual YouTuber. They are content creators who use digital avatars to stream or create videos instead of showing their face in a camera.
Are you curious about this type of content creators? We’re exploring everything you need to know about them here. Read on!
What is a VTuber?
The term VTuber is short for virtual YouTuber. A VTubers is a content creator who produces engaging content on multiple platforms but hides behind a digital avatar.
The virtual avatar will make it easier for a virtual YouTuber to build a unique character to stand out. That being said, you’ll never see the real person behind their virtual character.
You’ll see a VTuber as an anime-inspired character brought to life using motion capture and virtual reality technology. This is what makes this content creator different from most YouTubers.
You can think of virtual YouTubers as virtual celebrities who entertain and interact with their fans online. Sometimes they can play as an influencer, too.
Despite its name, VTuber’s meaning is not restricted to the use of YouTube as the sole platform. In fact, many VTubers use other platforms like Twitch, Facebook, or even Nico Nico Douga for a more specific Japanese audience.
Gawr Gura is one of the most popular VTubers that attract huge audiences. She has more than 3 million subscribers on YouTube. That’s quite amazing for a channel with a virtual character.
What’s more, the popularity of VTubing even entices Pewdiepie to join the trend. In some of his videos, he uses an animated character to join the hype.
In fact, content creators with virtual identity have exploded in popularity in recent years. Millions of fans worldwide tune in to watch their favorite personalities play games, sing, dance, and just hang out.
Read More: Finding the Best Games as a New Streamer
A Brief History of VTuber as A Trend
With the fact that virtual YouTubers are taking the world by storm, you may ask: “How did this start?”. Here are the story of it:
Ami Yamato is a Japanese vlogger that started her debut on YouTube on May 18, 2011. She uploaded videos talking about random topics in a 3D avatar.
While some might argue that Amy Yamato is more as a 3D Vlogger than a VTuber, her videos truly inspire creative content creators worldwide to make anything alike.
That’s when the idea of VTubing, whether in 2D or 3D animation, comes to reality and influences people to join in. So, if you ask: “Who was the first VTuber?” Ami Yamato is the one.
Kizuna AI was not the first VTuber as she just debuted in November 2016. However, she was considered as the one who coined the term “Virtual YouTuber” and set the VTuber trend.
Kizuna AI quickly became a sensation, inspiring countless others to follow in her footsteps. Not only in Japan, where she comes from, she was widely known as one of the first VTubers in the modern sense of the word.
As a VTuber, Kizuna AI was part of Activ8, a Japanese talent agency. Later on, she moved to its own company called Kizuna AI, Inc. The Japanese agency focused on managing talents with 2D anime characters
It turns out that the use of agency later became a trend as many virtual YouTubers are part of certain agencies to serve a global audience.
The trend of virtual content creation continued to grow as more content creators adopted the virtual persona using their own avatars.
That year, companies like Nijisanji and Hololive entered the market. They set themselves as virtual talent agencies, helping the content creator to manage their characters and grow their audience on many platforms.
It turns out that many popular VTubers are under their management.
2020 – Beyond
The pandemic of 2020 accelerated the trend of virtual content creation.
Firstly, the condition of staying at home encourages people to spark their creativity by creating online content. Secondly, more people turned to online entertainment to become huge potential audience.
The result is not only a spike to almost 1600% in 2021 according to UserLocal Japan, but it’s forecasted to have an increasing value at US$ 22,410 million by 2029.
How Does VTuber Work?
A VTuber works by making content. However, they’re not creating ordinary content videos. Instead, they use decent computer graphics to make a virtual avatar to produce awesome entertainment.
Behind their anime characters, virtual YouTubers create content centered around diverse niches or activities, such as:
- Doing a live stream
- Playing games on the Facebook gaming platform
- Collaborating with another real-person YouTuber
- Doing interviews
- Talking about daily random topics
- Singing songs
- Doing a comedy sketch
You heard it right. All those actions are done by a real person covering his identity with his own avatar, not AI-generated content.
What to do before creating any content would be something technical. But, to put it simply, a virtual YouTuber needs to create his own avatar using VTuber programs like Sketchfab or Spline.
Afterward, they should wear a motion capture device connected to a computer. This way, every motion he does will be implemented in his character online.
If you’re professional, you might consider buying a motion-tracking suit like the Xsens body suit. But, it’s very expensive, reaching almost $12,500 per suit.
A popular VTuber like CodeMiko uses this kinda suit, as shown in one of her videos.
Not only that, it’s recommended if you have a robust computer with a great video graphics card and a green screen.
The green screen will make the content you make more immersive, as it hides the real background of your place with a quirky virtual background.
You can start it all with only a few hundred dollars. But, then you can upgrade the setup once you start earning as a VTuber.
In short, you need these things to start VTubing activities:
- a virtual persona built with 3D models and animation
- motion capture technology, in terms of software and devices
- a robust computer with a good graphic cards
- a nice webcam
- a unique personality and great storyline to stand out
- a great and growing community
- The best streaming platforms which are suitable for your niche, from YouTube to Twitch, to local platforms
Again, you can do it all by yourself or join with a virtual talent company to handle all the nitty gritty of VTuber’s growth.
Why Are VTubers So Popular?
We can see that a virtual YouTuber can be really entertaining in any niche they try to focus on.
But, why do people like VTuber, and it seems like they’ll become a major player in the entertainment industry in the years to come?
1. Unique Content
With more than 15 million users around the world, how can you attract YouTube viewers without being unique?
That’s how a creative content creator like a VTuber tries to seize the day by awesome VTuber ideas.
Instead of restraining themselves because of shyness, they offer a unique and engaging form of online content by taking advantage of technology.
By using digital avatars, the content creators are able to create such personas that are relatable to their target audience easily, while keeping them quirky and entertaining.
This way, many content from this online entertainer will draw many viewers in and keep them engaged.
2. Diverse Range of Content
Behind various avatars, a YouTuber can create a wide range of content, including gaming, music, and even talk shows. With this diversity, captivating a wide range of viewers couldn’t be easier.
In the entertainment industry, viewers want to pick the best content that matches their interests and preferences. You need to make sure your channel is the chosen one.
While regular YouTubers may fulfill these needs, it will be harder for them, compared to how easy it will be using the unique nature of a digital persona.
Once viewers recognize you and like your channel, they’ll share it to their friends and soon it’ll become viral.
One of the reasons why people still refrain from making YouTube videos is showing their faces in front of the camera. In some areas like Asia, this is a challenging thing to do.
VTubing is a solution for these shy content creators to focus on the entertainment itself rather than their real physical appearances.
Also, using a digital character as a representation, the content creator can hinder the risk of being judged based on their appearance, gender, or race.
This way, the content becomes more inclusive. That way, it rapidly spreads among audiences of different ages and locations.
While most YouTubers make pre-recorded content for their audience, Vtuber content is often live-streamed. This allows real-time interaction between the content creator and their viewers.
Why are VTubers popular? A real-time stream with hundreds or thousands of viewers creates a sense of community and connection. This way, viewers can interact with their favorite characters, ask questions, and feel like they are part of the content.
This interaction has helped to build a strong fan base and undeniably contributed to the popularity of this content creator.
5. Pandemic Consequence
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, everyone had to stay at home. The lockdown policy in most countries around the globe unconsciously led to a surge in online entertainment consumption.
Not only movie streaming platforms like Netflix that gained success at that time, YouTube even gained 81% usage growth.
That was when VTubers became a phenomenon, and they were able to capitalize on this trend. They managed to provide engaging content that caters to the needs of their audiences.
So, what is a VTuber? You’ve learned that they are content creators that produce videos using animation as a character instead of their own self.
That way, a virtual YouTuber can focus on delivering awesome content without thinking about their facial expressions in front of a camera.
These online entertainers are gaining popularity as the technology becomes more advanced. Also, VTubing is widespread as it can be a great business, too.
From a paid live streaming talking about a product, to accepting viewer donations from YouTube is how to make money with this type of content creation.
What’s the best part? You can jump on the wagon and be the next VTuber, too.
Don’t worry; you don’t need to be an IRL (in real life) celebrity to do it. All you need is a great avatar, a unique personality, and a willingness to put yourself out there!
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What is a VTuber?
AVTuber, short for Virtual YouTuber, is a content creator who uses a digital avatar to create or stream content online. While some of them post pre-recorded videos, the strength of VtTubing lies on the real time streaming that full of engagement with audience.
How do VTubers work?
They work by creating content using animated characters generated by animation softwares. Then, they do the real time streaming or recording with the help of motion tracking devices attached to their bodies.
How much do VTubers model cost?
Vtuber model's cost may vary. If you want a 2D model, then it may range from hundreds to a thousand dollars. But, if you want a 3D character, it can cost up to thousands of dollars. Also, it all depends on the complexity and level of detail you're looking for.
Do I have to be a streamer to be a VTuber?
The beauty of being a Vtuber is that you have the freedom to create the kind of content that suits your style, whether that's streaming, pre-recorded videos, or audio content. So, whether you like to stream or not, you can still be a Vtuber and engage with your audience in your own unique way.
Do I have to be on YouTube to become a Vtuber?
Nope, not at all! Vtubers can be found on a variety of platforms, from Twitch to Bilibili and more. As long as you have a way to create and share your content, you can become a Vtuber no matter where you choose to do it. So go ahead and find the platform that suits you best and start sharing your unique brand of Vtuber magic with the world!
Are VTubers only popular in Japan?
VTubing is a trend originated in Japan. But, it has gained popularity around the world. There have many fans of them from Europe to Asia. Many great agencies from Japan like Hololive even spread the trend by opening Hololive English, Hololive Indonesia, etc.