Virtual Youtubers, more commonly known as Vtubers, are a phenomenon that have hit the internet with incredible impact. While this genre of CG avatar vlogging has been around since at least 2011, Virtual Youtubing was only popularized in 2016 by the character Kizuna AI, a personality that presents as self-aware artificial intelligence with a dash of adorable. She currently boasts over 4 million subscribers across three YouTube channels.
Unsurprisingly, Vtubing quickly became a trend for VR spaces too - allowing people to don their headsets and tune into their favorite avatar in 3D. Companies like Virtual Cast hit the market, enabling Vive users to embody their own avatars and join rooms with others to perform with them.
And then Vtubing hit the hologram.
Vtubing is not only interesting because it allows the actor to create a rich, fictional world for an audience around a CG character, but because the characters are 3D. That's why this genre was ripe for the VR pickings - it's not difficult for a 3D character to chill in a 3D VR scene.
But then, when displayed via VR, that performance becomes an isolated experience for the viewer. So when developers created a Vtubing bridge to the Looking Glass, it just made perfect sense.
Whether one is the Vtuber or the audience member, the essential ingredient to Vtubing has proven to be that it is a shared experience. It is a performance, and thus needs an audience. From personal experience, I know that waiting for someone to finish watching the Vtuber on their headset and pass it around can become rather awkward and isolating.
Gathering around a holographic display to watch the 3D performance is the future.
Welcome, Holo-tubers ^ - ^
**this is part of our “100 Days of Holograms” series, where a few of us in the team at Looking Glass Factory post one new wonderful or weird (or both!) use for the Looking Glass holographic display being conjured around the world each day.