In the last few years, Vtubers have really come into their own. Famous Vtuber / singers with corporate backing such as Kizuna AI and Kaguya Luna continue their rise to fame, with streaming-focused Vtubers from Nijisanji and Hololive⁠—some of whom have gained a considerable fan base abroad⁠—not far behind. At the same time, there has been a steady increase in the number of independent Vtubers like Virtual Bishōjo Nem, whom we interviewed last month, or Ocutan Bot (original by Mighty999), who graciously allowed us to use her likeness in the header image of this article. According to some estimates, the total number of Vtubers now exceeds 10,000.

2020 is turning out to be an important year for VR. As demonstrated in research by Swiss cultural anthropologist and Vtuber researcher Ludmila Bredikhina and Virtual Bishōjo Nem, the novel coronavirus pandemic has encouraged more people to begin using virtual characters and broadcasting as Vtubers.

Virtual Beings World Showcase 2020 “New Play Together”

In SIGGRAPH, the world's largest conference on computer graphics, Vtubers made their mark last year at the occasion of the very first "Virtual Beings World" Birds of a Feather (“BoF”) workshop showcasing “Virtual Beings,” a portmanteau term which includes Vtubers but also encompasses AI-driven storytelling, virtual humans, virtual influencers, digital doubles, virtual idols and virtual entertainers.

This year, the "Virtual Beings World" workshop is back with the theme "New Play Together."

Organized by Liudmila Bredikhina and Akihiko Shirai (WFLE, Inc. GREE VR Studio Laboratory / Digital Hollywood University), the workshop wants to "bring diverse artistic perspectives on new forms of entertainment and playful communications with/between Virtual Beings" and it's designed "for attendees interested in computer graphics, realtime and interactive techniques."

World Vtuber Showcase

Although the majority of the Vtubers participating in the showcase are from Japan, there are also participants from many other countries such as Mexico, USA, Poland, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, France, and Switzerland.

Here is a sample of the 25 finalists:

Ocutan Bot


Dokokano Usagi

Leon Zeromiya

Participants are: (@eirifu), Pending (@PendingV), Ovalee (@ovaraisu), Harunone Hal (@YggdrasiaPJT), Leon Zeromiya (@leonzeromiya), Enil (@EnilChannel), Keikai (@Keikai_Gumin), Bunny (@bunnyvtuber), Rubii (@RubiiVirtual), Keiro Kamioka (@keirokamioka), Omoi Kane (@omoi0kane), Deat (@Virtual_Deat), Daadada Jet Blanco (@blancodadada), Holographic(C)RI Inc. (@361Yohen), Theremin Nimereht-Gou (@eciov_nimereht), Ocutan Bot (@OculusTan), Milky (@mikyuuchuu), Puffs (@puffsleeve_), Fukushima Genshiro (@Fgenshiro), Shinazugawa Sen (@shinazugawa1000), Amanda (@A_man_da_L), Mikan Takano (@MikanTakano), Lewis (@LewisQuadruped), Edgardo Niwatori (@ENiwatori), and DokokanoUsagi (@patsupyon).

You can see the entire playlist here.

Workshop Information

The workshop will be held on Aug. 24th, 10:00 to 11:00 PDT (Aug. 25th 2:00 to 3:00 JST).

For more information on the Virtual Beings World Showcase 2020 “New Play Together,” the full list of speakers, presentations and events planned during the workshop, see here.

Registration in SIGGRAPH 2020 is required to participate, but you'll be able to watch a stream of the workshop on Gree VR Studio's YouTube channel here:

By - Ben K.