KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — Online entertainment has been gaining traction especially since the Covid-19 pandemic has left many spending much more time at home.
Amongst the online entertainment offerings, comes the Virtual Youtubers craze, VTubers — an online entertainer using a virtual avatar generated by motion tracking software for livestreams and online content.
According to a YouTube culture and trends report in 2020, Vtuber channels content garnered over 1.5 billion views monthly by the end of 2020.
And a Malaysian VTuber agency by the name of Projek Hikayat aims to expand the limits of content creating and livestreams through their stable of VTuber talents.
According to co-founder Joshua Ho Cheng Wei, VTubers have a lot more potential to offer rather than just doing livestreaming content.
“If you look at the birthplace of VTubing, which is Japan, you can see companies using the technology behind VTubing for things like advertising and promotions.
“For example, Sega for their Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th anniversary, what they did was, they got the original voice actor of Sonic to come back and VTubed Sonic.
“So, Sonic would be able to talk to his fans and even joke around with them,” Wei told Malay Mail.
Wei also added that amongst the advantages of VTubing is audience interaction in real time.
He pointed out that there has been a gap in the livestream market as not everyone has the time to watch live streams anymore and that is why Projek Hikayat chose to focus more on creating content.
They’re looking forward to collaborating with other companies as well, as the VTuber phenomenon is still new and there’s a lot more potential.
Wei explained that a VTuber agency operates in the same vicinity as any other talent agencies.
This includes scouts for talents via auditions and the chosen talents are signed, trained and promoted by the agency.
The distinction between Projek Hikayat is that, just like their name which is translated to stories, legends, and tales, they aim to let their talents tell their own stories rather than micro-managing them.
Projek Hikayat also offers their talents a platform where they can produce content with complete creative freedom.
“When VTubing started in 2016 with Kizuna AI, she was a huge phenomenon, she was really one of the first examples of VTuber in Japan.
“When she first debuted, the technology was still in the early phases, so, to VTube, you’ll need to go to a studio and have all these expensive equipment setups around you but nowadays, everything is a lot more simplified.
“All you need is a good phone and a gaming computer because if you use normal computers and phones, there’s a huge possibility that it will crash.
“So, that is where companies like us step in.
“We offer our assistance in setting up and sorting out technicalities for our talents, creating a stable platform for them as well,” Wei said.
Meanwhile, according to Projek Hikayat’s fellow co-founder, Jonathan Yen Kai Feng, VTubers also has the potential to put Malaysia on the map.
“Even though one of the disadvantages of Malaysia is that not everyone knows us, some might even think we’re part of Singapore or Indonesia.
“Our presence internationally is not very strong, especially in the VTubing world.
“But because of that alone, we have a lot of things to talk about and it’s an opportunity to let other countries know about us even more,” Feng told Malay Mail.
Feng also said that even though the VTubing culture in Malaysia is still in its infancy, there are already over 100 VTubers in Malaysia to date.
Since its inception in February this year, Projek Hikayat will debut their very first VTuber, Duroppu Charming, this August 28.
Although the details of their VTuber are still being kept secret, Feng however disclosed that Duroppu is voiced by an overseas talent.
Projek Hikayat is happy to announce the debut of our first official talent, Duroppu Charming! A dropbear who crawled out from the pits of hell, watch her debut live on the 28th of August, 11 am [GMT+8] on her YouTube channel!#projekhikayat #Vtuber #ENVtuber #VTuberEN pic.twitter.com/2lYuSiVKd6— Projek Hikayat (@projecthikayat) August 21, 2021
This is after they organised their first auditions in May which saw over 150 people from across the world auditioning to be part of Projek Hikayat’s talents.
According to Feng, even though Duroppu will be doing live streams, they assured that Duroppu will be active in doing creative content as well.
Feng also explained that even though their first talent is from overseas, they’re planning to do another audition later this year and encourages Malaysians to join in.
“VTubing is new, everybody is still figuring out what we can do and what we cannot do.
“In the future, we can see that a lot of companies will start experimenting with VTubers especially in advertising and promotions.
“In terms of advertisement, we think that VTuber has a good chance to expand the limits of what we already know in the field of advertising, promotions and digital projects.”