VTuber are everywhere in the world, but what are they? Are they the future of Twitch and YouTube?
What is a VTuber?
A VTuber is a virtual youtuber who uses an avatar to represent themselves online using some kind of motion or voice capturing software to make the avatar move with them. VTubers usually represent themselves with an anime style avatar, but it can be a more cartoon style as well rarely a realistic style. Most VTubers are creators who just play games, sing, stream and make videos online, some with more extensive backstory to their avatars as well. A VTuber may only sound like they are on YouTube, they can be found on all social media (TikTok, Twitter, Twitch and more). Most VTubers are Nihongo, or as western culture calls it, Japanese, but as of 2020 the culture has spread even further into Western media which means we have seen a bigger uprising of English-speaking Virtual creators.
Are VTubers the future?
VTubers are beginning to blur the lines between the virtual world and the physical world, making them a hit market for people who want to escape to the online world but still want to chat to people. Virtual creators are popular because they appeal to a large demographic of people. The demographics can vary slightly although the general demographic is anime lovers, gaming, and Japanese pop. VTubers can fit into niche interests, such as music or graphic design as well. All of this makes them not likely to go away any time soon as they are the future of content creation. Though there will always be a place for physical content, virtual creators will hold a decent stand in the future.
Why are they faceless?
Virtual creators are usually faceless, but why? According to u/breadstore56 from reddit, they are a faceless VTuber because they wanted to be expressive with something other than voice alone. Along with the fact that it feels like they are missing something when they stream without a model. Moonlit_Strawberry mentions how the best feeling is the anonymity of it all not having to show your face if you do not want to. All of this, along with the recent event of Dream Minecraft face revealing on YouTube, carried over to Twitter with tags like #putthemaskbackon and #ohnohesugly. This event further solidified with most VTubers that remaining faceless is the way to go.
How do they work/what types are there?
VTubers come in many shapes and sizes, and they all work in a similar fashion. There are three types of models that VTubers use 3D, 2D, and PNG. A 3D model can be used with a VR headset to create the appearance of being more alive or they can use a program such as Vseeface to track the face capture and allow the user to open and close their mouth while having the avatar follow that. 2D VTubers are rigged using Live2D, a rigging software, and are the most common and sought-after models as they look the cleanest and fanciest. 2D rigging is like 3D as it captures the face but, in this case, a VTuber cannot use a VR headset for full body motion. Lastly, we have PNG models, these are simple transparent PNGs with at least two expressions open and closed mouth; they may also have blinking expressions for both. They are usually captured in Veadotube Mini and are a base starting point for VTubers. VTubers are also sometimes part of big companies such as Hololive or Vshojo, but there are many cases where they are independent creators as well.
What are the common misconceptions?
According to Nyatasha Nyanners says “Some people scoff at VTubers and they just reduce it to, “oh it’s just a bunch of anime girls and people simping for PNGs.”” she also says, “I wish more people would understand instead of just scoffing at it and assume it’s just JPEGs of anime girls”.
Simping being the action of people who will do everything in their power to impress the other person and show themselves off. Reddit user u/Vash135 mentions how the salaries of VTubers may look big but because of other variables such as being part of a company and not independent that number may be much lower. Many VTubers will end up also working part time, and most of their funding from this online creation will come from merchandise.
How do they deal with the hate that comes with being a VTuber?
Being a VTuber comes with a lot of hate. People deal with hate in many ways one of them is ignore it or just straight up ban them, as moonlit_strawberry states, “I usually don’t pay it too much mind. Me simply living my life is such a problem for them. They feel the need to come into my chat and say something, but I really pay no mind. I’m not very scared to ban anyone from my chat for any reason.” What moonlit_strawberry says is a great way to just remove negativity from your chat and personal life.
VTubers keep their stand in social media as a faceless way to create content while still having something to represent themselves. They will always be around, as not everyone is comfortable showing their face online. This means that this genre of content creation will stick around and grow continually over time.