amous VTuber Kizuna AI just announced she’s taking an indefinite break from streaming on her YouTube channel “A.I. Channel,” where she originally shot to fame in 2016. Kizuna shared her big news in a recent video, stating she’ll be connecting with fans through the metaverse and NFTs moving forward.

In preparation for these significant changes, she’s taking a break from creating videos. “To put it simply, you can’t use your computer while it’s updating the OS, right?” she jokes.

Kizuna will dream of electric sheep indefinitely come February 26, 2022, following her concert “Hello, World 2022.” The decision seems unexpected yet justifiable, with the digital landscape developing quickly and more virtual influencers appearing on social media by the week.

“Compared to five years ago when I first started my activities, the world has gradually become more comfortable with virtual existence and people having their own avatars. It makes me really happy, and it also gives me a chance to rethink my identity. I am not that rare anymore,” Kizuna AI says in her video message.

“I’m not that rare anymore.”

What it means for Kizuna AI and her community

To stay relevant, the Japanese virtual influencer and VTuber is taking a chance by pulling the plug on her main platform and gateway to the community. Virtual influencers rarely take an indefinite break from producing content because continuously creating to keep fans interested is important, like human influencers. However, Kizuna AI won’t stay completely silent, as she’ll make announcements during and after the update.  

She will leave her community hooked, wondering what is next for their favorite virtual influencer. Whatever engagement she risks losing will presumably be made up for in the future, as Kizuna AI promises to reconnect with fans in exciting and innovative ways.    

“I want to connect with everyone in the world and I want a future where I can do more fun things with everyone,” she says. “I want to be more part of everyone’s daily lives. I think that is something I can do because I am who I am.”

To make this happen, Kizuna AI is turning to the metaverse and NFTs. In the end, the move will benefit her community and narrative because it is an adaptation to the digital future.

Already, Kizuna AI has tasted what the NFT space offers. In September, the virtual influencer partnered with Metaani to launch a crypto art project. The collaboration saw 11 Metaani’s wearing Kizuna AI’s iconic heart-shaped headband. Each NFT also included past thumbnail images from her YouTube videos. The NFTs currently sit at a floor price of 0.6 ETH (or $4,067 USD) on OpenSea.    

Why the NFT space attracts virtual influencers

Kizuna AI’s decision to leave YouTube for the foreseeable future validates NFTs as a new marketing strategy for virtual influencers. NFTs aren’t just a digital file. They are a way for fans to collect stories, gain access, and share experiences in our increasingly virtual world.

So far, other virtual influencers have released NFT collections, like Apoki’s mystery boxes and Rae’s “Take A Byte” series. But to see one of the most popular virtual influencers change her strategy, rethink her narrative and go all-in on the metaverse and digital assets is exceptional.

Another example is Lil Miquela. Her founding company, Brud, was acquired by NFT startup Dapper Labs in October of 2021. However, while Brud plans to turn Lil Miquela into a DAO (a decentralized digital organisation) under her new management, she remains wide awake and engaging with fans on Instagram, months after acquisition.

In the NFT space, virtual influencers can expand their universe in newly creative ways while monetizing. On social media, virtual influencers connect with fans through engaging and relatable storytelling. NFTs enable fans to own a piece of that story and share a unique moment with their favourite virtual influencer. Sometimes even physical experiences are linked to an NFT, enhancing the emotional and financial investment.

What do you think of Kizuna AI’s big news? What virtual influencer would you collect an NFT from?  

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