Is virtual idol a castle in the air or a top stream across time and space?

Source:"Deep Eyes on Finance and Economics" (ID: chutou0325), Author: Qin Qin

Virtual idol, where is it?

In recent years, the old idol Luo Tianyi, the rising idol "A-SOUL", the host "Xiaoyang", the virtual spokesman Wufangzhai's "five glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glutinous glut. Moreover, in recent years, as computer generated roles become more and more delicate, coupled with the popularity of the concept of the meta universe, virtual idols seem to fit perfectly with Generation Z.

The increasingly popular virtual idols are rapidly invading various fields. More and more brands have begun to use virtual KOL to attract them. In the future, real idols and virtual idols will continue to perform on the same stage.

The universe has not finished yet, and virtual idols begin to flood

2021 is the first year of the meta universe, which further ignites the concept of virtual idol. 

The development of technology is an important driving force to promote the development of the virtual idol industry. Today's virtual idols can not only carry out various activities through albums, videos and other ways, but also enrich their connotation through interaction with fans. This real-time motion capture mechanism allows virtual hosts to communicate with fans in the real world in real time during the live broadcast. 

At the same time, in the real world, idols continue to "collapse". According to incomplete statistics, in addition to the exposure of the PUA wife and prostitutes of Wang Leehom, a high-quality idol for more than 20 years, Wu Yifan, Zheng Shuang, Li Yundi, Li Yifeng and more than a dozen other top idols' unlimited operations have made the audience shout about the collapse of the Three Views.  

The more real idols collapse, the faster virtual idols rise.  

In the past few years, a large number of virtual digital people have flocked to the track: Liu Yexi, a beauty expert who can "catch demons", AYAYI who shuttles in the crowd, Tsinghua Huazhibing, who has all kinds of virtues, intelligence, physique and beauty, Ah Xi, a lively and lovely girl next door, the hottest virtual idol in America, Lil Miquela, an Instagram celebrity, and FN Meka, an AI rapper who is burning on TikTok, etc. 

From the perspective of the current IP operation mode of virtual people, they are basically short plays, live broadcasts, stage performances, brand cooperation and other forms. At present, it seems that virtual people like Liu Yexi and Kong Xiang who are active in short plays are more popular, or they are the companies behind them. Kong Xiang, for example, is a virtual person owned by the leading enterprise in the live broadcast e-commerce industry. When he first started, he cooperated with Jia Nailiang, directly won three beauty endorsements, and spent a whole day in hot search. 

With the help of the concept of the meta universe and the concept of "never collapse the house", the virtual idol industry has started to make rapid progress and has a great tendency to replace the real idol. 

The rise of a hundred billion yuan market brings new opportunities and challenges

The speed of virtual idols pouring into the real world is faster than many people imagine: holding a tour concert, receiving advertising endorsements, selling goods on the spot, appearing on the cover of fashion magazines, etc. 

Virtual idols can endow the characteristics of all walks of life, attracting some Internet giants with a keen sense of smell to join, and more and more Internet giants begin to directly use their fields that they have worked hard for many years to enter the virtual idol track. 

First, the virtual Idol "Li Weike" obtained the exclusive investment of ByteDance, and then the first virtual idol portfolio "a-soul" launched by Lehua entertainment. Only a few months later, a-soul had more than 3 million fans on the whole network and joined bytedance in July 2021.   

2021Wanxiang CultureSecondary cultureStartups in the field of virtual idols, such as Sunway capital, Qiming venture capital and ByteDance, have received 25 financing deals with a maximum amount of tens of millions of dollars.  

Station B, which has the highest "anime concentration", also chose to layout the whole industrial chain of virtual idols. In addition to direct investment, Station B also operates its own virtual idol. In December 2021, the "Virtual Cinderella Project", a virtual idol group created by Station B and Sony, was officially launched and launched in March 2022.  

After all, there has been no epoch-making product for a long time. For big capital, virtual idols can stand at the tuyere of the meta universe. Although the meta universe is still mostly conceptual, at least there are scientific and technological stories of intelligent innovation to tell, and a good brand IP is also a long-term fan. 

Now, Alibaba, Tencent, NetEase and other Internet giants have already begun to layout, and powerful brands such as Porsche, McDonald's and SAIC have also developed their own virtual idols. 

However, standing in the wind of the Yuan universe, can capital really make a huge profit by forcefully displaying a new and interesting image to Generation Z through various kinds of marketing? This seemingly popular virtual idol track seems more like a small attempt by giants to bet on the future. 

On the one hand, building a large-scale virtual idol requires tens of millions of investment, or even hundreds of millions of huge costs. 

On the other hand, under the heavy pressure of high cost, virtual idol has not found an efficient cash flow mode. 

The business model of several head IP has begun to take shape. Virtual idols with a good fan base, such as Luotianyi, have endorsed and cooperated with about 10 brands; A-soul and virtuareal also show great commercial value by relying on Lehua, ByteDance and station B. after all, a large number of them are willing to pay a large price to actually express their support. 

Since its debut in 2019, AI rapper FN Meka has attracted more than 10 million fans and played more than 1 billion music works. 

Compared with real stars, cooperating with virtual idols can not only show the avant-garde connotation, but also have unlimited scalability. In particular, cosmetics and clothing companies can directly design images to create exclusive virtual spokespersons. 

Behind Ling Ling, another big fire, Magic Technology, its production company, has long been a virtual technology service provider for Yuewen, Station B, Tencent and Alibaba. Basically, there is big capital behind the operation that has not yet closed down. In contrast, without the investment of giants and the support of fans, it is difficult for the virtual idol behind the waist tail company to recover its costs. 

However, this track is still favored by the capitalDimensional cultureGradually deepening, there are more and more pan anime fans in China. As the main audience of virtual idols, generation Z is pushing the virtual idols market into the Red Sea. 

Is virtual idol really perfect?

Before the Yuanuniverse was finished, a big event happened in the virtual idol circle - the first generation of virtual anchor tripped Ai and left. 

The first generation virtual anchor Tuai, born in Japan, announced that he would sleep indefinitely after the "Hello, world 2022" concert on February 26, 2022. 

Stu ai was called "the first emperor of virtual anchors" by fans. She has also won many honors, including the Ambassador of New York to Japan and the Japanese Person of 2019. It can be said that Love Trip has brought happiness and touch to countless people. However, "there are many people who are popular, right and wrong". Soon, there were various disputes between its IP operation team and the "soul" that stung love, which disappointed fans of the operation team. 

Therefore, in this trip to love exit event, people were surprised to find that it was widely believed that "virtual idols have the characteristics of strong participation, no negative information, and many surrounding industries", which still depends on the ability of the operation team behind them. 

Although virtual idols can enable the 'people in the middle' to constantly change to achieve the effect of all-weather company, sometimes the good and evil depend on each other. In addition to the uncertain realization mode, although virtual idols lack the shortcomings of real idols, they also lack the flexibility of real people, and cannot completely shake off the influence of real people. Virtual idols are not cyberpunks, and it is difficult to attract fans by virtue of their real personality. 

For example, Hello,Saturday》After Xiaoyang was exposed to the action of her partner company, people's enthusiasm for her dissipated a lot. 

Moreover, the human charm of real idols is incomparable to that of virtual idols. Virtual idols are often criticized for their single expression, slow movement, lack of emotion, and even Ling'sQuotations from Chairman Mao ZedongOn a dynamic: after lipstick "moisturizes but does not dry", many people roast: "how can virtual people know if this lipstick is dry?". 

In communities where fans of virtual idols gather, such as forums, many fans can't distinguish between the shell of an idol and the people inside. They are keen on "peeling" the "skin" of virtual idols and opening their "boxes", although this behavior may be suspected of violating privacy.  

The most typical example is Roy, the virtual idol of VirtuaReal, who was exposed to be married here, which led many fans to instantly lose their fans. Members of A-Soul also often face various speculations. Among them, the most popular Jiaran has been contacted by fans for many times with unsubstantiated Chinese people, and constantly questioned their marriage, age and other issues. Until it was revealed that several Chinese people were seriously squeezed by the company, everyone temporarily put aside their curiosity and turned to focus on attacking the company.   

In addition, the wishes and preferences of the production team are often projected onto the behavior of the virtual idol. As the live broadcast of the virtual idol needs to transmit images in real time, once the production team has principled problems, the idol basically has no opportunity to remedy. 

In 2020, Holive's two virtual idols, Akai Shin and Yasunari Koko, made wrong comments on the Taiwan issue in the live broadcast. Many fans suspected that this was the participation of the Japanese production team and deliberately "made the domestic fans sick". Finally, the activity ended with the withdrawal of all virtual idols under Hollywood from the domestic mainland market. 

The healthy development of virtual idols is the foundation of talent generation

As an evergreen tree in the virtual idol world, 2022 will be the 10th anniversary of Luo Tianyi's debut. The secret of Luo Tianyi's vitality is also very simple. Her Vsinger team started early, and research and development can be described as a step by step. Therefore, Luo Tianyi has a technical moat. 

From the content point of view, compared with some virtual idols who only cut chives crazily, Luo Tianyi has been growing up with fans. From the beginning of "Shaping Onion Song" to "Ordinary Disco" to "Dala Beng Bar", the accumulation of these works makes Luo Tianyi have a solid content foundation and higher aesthetic standards different from other virtual idols. 

One hundred feet further. Vsinger also launched the "Million Maker Plan" this year. On the one hand, it provides easy to use tools to stimulate more effective creation. On the other hand, it reshapes the commercialization mechanism of creative content, so that creators no longer use love to generate electricity.  

However, one Luotianyi can not change the embarrassment of the whole industry. Most virtual idols are almost at the peak of their careers. 

Many virtual idols are carved from the same mold, but their hair styles and clothes are different. In addition, their acting logic and values are similar. In addition, copyright constraints and other issues make it difficult for the heavily invested virtual idols to emerge in the early stage, and it is difficult to have fan stickiness without works in the later stage. 

Fundamentally speaking, the development of virtual idols is still based on technology, but for the audience, the popularity of VR technology, virtual devices and other intelligent hardware is also very important. On the one hand, the 3D modeling and sound library technology of virtual idols are in front of us. On the other hand, the high price of VR and other intelligent devices makes young people with the highest acceptance but less wealth flinch. 

Companies that are aware of these problems have also started to develop virtual idols with lower costs and higher popularity. 

Metahuman creator software reduces the generation time of virtual human to less than an hour. Microsoft Avatar Framework Small iceThe framework is a general framework for virtual human incubation. Baidu AI Cloud Xiling platform is helping people realize "digital human freedom". 3D digital people, which used to take two or three months to make, can now be compressed into a few hours. 

In the future, with the progress of 5G, AR, VR and other technologies, virtual people will sooner or later enter thousands of households and become a common and cheap commodity like daily necessities. Virtual assistants, virtual teachers, virtual customer service and other more diversified virtual professions will also emerge. 

Of course, any technology will return to rationality after brutal growth and usher in supervision. At present, the virtual idol industry is still in the development stage. Digital financial fraud, copyright disputes and other issues have emerged, and market supervision and regulation will be strengthened in the future. 

In addition, online live broadcast and film and television production have clear provisions on the dress and language of characters, while relevant laws and regulations have loopholes in virtual idols, which has led some virtual idols to play the "edge ball". 

Virtual idol is virtual, but it lives in the real legal environment, so the relevant laws and regulations for virtual idol may appear in the near future. 

For the audience, the virtual idol that they continue to love must have a unique spiritual core. It is definitely not a line of code. While making technological innovation, the virtual idol should also focus on exploring more unique cultural values, so that more fans can closely gather together. 

As Jamie Cohen, an American digital culture expert, said, "If virtual idols are to become more popular, they need to provide young people with Internet literacy. The Internet has no instructions. We accept the unique things that happen in this field, but it is crucial for consumer culture to understand how virtual idols operate, who operates, why they operate, and who they are serving." 

The current business operation of virtual idol is basically still in the flow thinking, which is similar to the traditional idol star making. How will it develop in the future? Whether we can rely on industrial assembly line production to find more commercial operation methods and break through the boundaries, let's wait and see. 

*The picture comes from the network, please contact to delete the infringement