In the rapidly growing Chinese Vtuber industry, the harsh working environment of ``middle people'' has become a problem
``Live distributors who reflect human movements in 2D or 3D avatars,'' rather than actual people appearing as they are, are called virtual YouTubers or virtual rivers, abbreviated as ``VTuber''. VTuber is a neighborhood that has grown explosively in Japan, but now it has become popular content in countries around the world, such as the United States, China, South Korea, and Indonesia. In China, where the popularity of VTuber is overheating so that the value of VTuber-related businesses and projects reaches a total of 16 billion dollars (about 2.1 trillion yen), VTuber's working conditions are a big problem.
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Chinese entertainment company Yuehua Entertainment (乐华娱乐) has teamed up with TikTok operator ByteDance to launch a VTuber group called A-SOUL . A-SOUL is a 3D avatar VTuber group that mainly works on songs and dances, collaborated with popular brands and famous services, and sold 5.6 million dollars (about 744 million yen). In China, all media and entertainment are subject to surveillance and censorship, and VTuber is recognized as a ``controllable virtual influencer'' and is gaining popularity in the advertising industry.
[2021/07/09] Asoul Bilibili World Special Interactive Live Day 1-YouTube
However, as the popularity of VTubers increases and activities using them become more active, the working hours of VTuber actors called 'people in the middle' will also increase. Capture systems that reflect the movement of people inside VTuber avatars range from simple ones using smartphones and webcams to large-scale ones using equipment and suits that cost tens of millions of yen per set. Things that use smartphones and webcams can be operated at home, but in order to move the 3D avatar smoothly enough to dance, it is necessary to wear a motion capture suit and move around in a dedicated facility, and the physical burden of the activity is considerable. Get bigger.
The following movie is where the movement of a person is actually reflected in a 3D avatar with a motion capture suit.
A Motion Capture Demo Video of VTPlus, A Professional VTuber Livstreaming System by Jigen Toys-YouTube
In May 2022, former A-SOUL member Carol announced that she would be suspending live streaming and activities for 'health and academic reasons.' Behind the scenes, the account of a person who is considered to be the insider said, ``I was forced to take intense dance lessons until 3:00 am. Some enthusiastic fans pointed out that 'people inside may have been exploited' because they exposed a harsh working environment such as 'Even though they are working, their income is very low'. It went up in flames . This scandal triggered a discussion in China about VTuber's working conditions.
Mengyu Peng, the branding director of Super ACG , which develops 3D avatars and capture systems for VTubers, said, ``How many hours people work is decided by the management staff behind them, and they decide themselves. I can't,' he said. Peng said most people are expected to be VTubers for 22 days a month, four to five hours a day.
Yijun Luo, a postdoctoral fellow at the Baptist University of Hong Kong who studies the VTuber industry in China, said, ``VTubers may look like artificial creations, but they are just like real-life influencers and celebrities. In addition, it relies on the charm and personality of real people: some fans become so attached to the unique qualities of one of their favorite VTubers that they can't stand the idea of someone else taking their place. If VTuber actors are the souls of animated superstars, why aren't they paid as much as human superstars?'
The person who is said to be a person in the music continues to be active on Weibo and bilibili even after taking a break from A-SOUL. The person who is said to be a former singer interacts with more than 10,000 fans a day, sharing daily snacks, naps, test results of new coronavirus infections, etc. Also, in July 2022, I posted a video of me singing on bilibili, which has already been viewed more than 880,000 times.
An IT news site, Rest of World, said, 'Although this person has never stated that she was a former member of A-SOUL, fans have visited her account and asked about the person who once moved the idol they loved. We will gather together as if we are drawn to each other with a strong attachment, leaving behind words of support and admiration.