ololive, the talent agency that manages the top VTubers globally, has announced that they are creating a “metaverse” game platform where fans can create their own avatars and interact with their favorite VTubers in an open-world sandbox experience much like MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) that have come before.
Virtual beings can exist in practically any virtual world, especially games, with ease. We’ve recently seen this with the popular virtual influencers Janky and Guggimon entering Fortnite. These transmedia moments of a social-first character crossing over into a game platform are exhilarating to fans. After all, if you love following Guggimon on Instagram, why wouldn’t you want to play as him in a game as well?
A key advantage of working with a virtual influencer is their ability to fluidly tell storylines across various platforms. While we love to see humans like Ariana Grande enter Fortnite, her character doesn’t look exactly the same as the real Ariana so it doesn’t carry the same impact. However, when Guggimon entered Fortnite, he looked the same as he does on Instagram. That seamless transition allows his fans to fully immerse themselves in whatever world they follow their favorite influencer into.
Now Hololive is taking advantage of fans’ desire for further immersion in their storylines by creating a platform where all the VTubers they manage can come together with fans in one epic gaming experience.
What is Hololive?
Hololive is the leading talent agency for VTubers. While VTubers and virtual influencers have important key differences, they are both types of virtual beings. Many virtual influencers, such as CodeMiko, itsvi0let, AI Angel, and LaserBolt, also live stream while playing video games, similar to VTubers. VTubers are primarily 2D, anime-inspired creations of individual performers using consumer-ready software to express themselves on video.
At our glossary of terms on VirtualHumans, we define a VTuber as
“A virtual being who streams their life on popular video platforms. VTubers are humans using a spectrum of consumer-ready motion capture technologies and character creation softwares, commonly in the anime aesthetic and streamed on Twitch or YouTube.”
Many of these VTubers have complex backstories for their unique characters—such as being a dragon, demon, or even a shark. These storylines add depth and allow their characters to stand apart in the crowded VTuber landscape. Now, Hololive is gathering these characters and their complex storylines into one universe: Holoearth.
What is Holoearth?
Holoearth is the name of Hololive’s new self-declared “metaverse” game project. It will converge all their popular VTubers’ storylines into one platform. This ambitious project includes three sub-projects, which will eventually be joined together.
1. A Sandbox Game — “We are developing an open-world sandbox game in which players can go on adventures and experience daily life. You can battle monsters, build a house to live in, and immerse yourself in the world of Holoearth. Every player will have a new story to tell.”
2. Communication Lobby — “This lobby will serve as the gateway to Holoearth, where you can meet and converse with other fans. Here, you can recruit a party to go adventuring within the sandbox game. We are also hoping to hold special events in this space in the future.”
3. Avatar Creation — “We are developing an avatar creation system to allow prospective adventurers to create the bodies they will inhabit when they enter the world of Holoearth. Through the course of your adventures and daily interactions, you will be able to collect, equip, and customize various outfits, equipment, and accessories for your avatar body.”
Each of these components (setting, characters, and communication) are the foundation of an immersive world-building experience. Picture a fan going from watching their favorite VTuber in a live stream to then jumping into a video game and hunting for wild animals beside the same virtual character. Hololive could easily create another stream of revenue via in-game microtransactions or themed events.
What is special about Holoearth?
One of the appeals of watching VTubers is seeing their shared interactions with one another. Fans love to watch collaborative live streams of their favorite VTubers joking around or playing games together. Now, Hololive can capitalize on those dynamics in an open-world platform, where physical limitations don’t constrain VTubers.
Imagine holding a virtual concert in the communication lobby and watching a VTuber perform live alongside hundreds of other virtual fans. It’s a much more immersive experience than simply geeking out in the comments section of a Twitch stream or YouTube video (which is what current fans are limited to).
Additionally, many fans are inspired by the complex storylines of their favorite VTubers to create their own virtual avatars with similar backstories. The VTuber industry has grown exponentially, with more than 16,000 documented virtual streamers, many of whom started as Hololive fans, and thousands more who are yet to be discovered. Now, with Holoearth, these fans will be able to bring their fantasies to life and join VTubers on immersive adventures in the metaverse.
This exciting new project should inspire those who manage or work with virtual influencers to dream bigger than ever before as they explore the possibilities of transmedia universe building.
After all, the virtual sky that you create is the only limit.