Metaverse is simply an over-heated phrase for media to play upon with. We can call it Meta-Rush! The media hype level is just too much under the intentional exploitation of international conglomerates and local news followers in almost every country. Instead of describing an uncertain future, I would like to focus on what is currently do-able and executable to reach to this new world.
Metaverse is just an empty space, aka wasteland, without lots and lots of creative virtual human!
In one of my recent conversation with industrial friends I used the above phrase to describe why everyone is missing the point if you only follow the thinking path of global social media company. The world, old or not, actual or virtual, needs to be consisted with lively human. And such vivid individuals won’t be the canned- product generated from some AI powered cloud free service. And this does provide an extremely good entry point for smaller but super creative teams or individuals.
Let’s again exam the current status of the industry. Tools for making 3D virtual characters are crowded, ie Red Ocean already. Just look at Metahuman from Unreal, Vroid Studio from Pixiv Japan. One can even go back to the good old fashioned modelling tools like Maya or 3DMax. Production companies are even more congested, due to the past build up in animation/vfx outsourced from major studios from East and West. Yet, surprisingly, it is hard to locate the kind of companies, start up or well-established, who know just how to nurture a virtual human from nobody to become well known Social Celebrities. With the only few exceptions maybe from Japan who have positioned themselves as the Talent Agency for VTubers, aka virtual human. They have accumulated the knowhow of achieving getting tipped by Superchat from their live performance on Youtube. Top ranking VTubers can pull in above half a million US$ just from tip, without counting their typical incomes like advertisement or selling image stickers etc. The rest of the world are playing the catch up game still.
Another important aspect of virtual human is cross borders, a phenomenon duly reflected from the followers of some well known Japanese VTubers. Over 70% is non-Japanese from overseas. Borderless is also a speculated feature of Metaverse. It’s highly recommended, for any creative teams interested in virtual human, to add cross cultural elements into your creation. New immigrants from other culture recently settle in your country will be a strong help. In addition, will highly recommend to equip your team with software engineer who happens to be involved somehow with animation or game engine background. Quite a few new features in Metaverse will need the coders’ assistance to make new things happened fast. Cross cultural elements and coders are two strong competitive edge for those who interested to join the rush to Metaverse.
So far there is no know industrial clusters for virtual human. If some country can provide meta-friendly environment, they will be more likely to obtain an upper hand during the future competition.
Chairman, Taiwan VTuber Association
Founding Director, Asian Virtual Human Association