VTubing is a trend on YouTube, Twitch and other streaming services where, instead of having a usual face camera, streamers display an animated character that is mapped to their movements. Some track arm and head movements, but the more expensive models even map facial expressions and track the streamer’s mouth as they speak. Many VTubers use their avatars as an exercise in role-playing as well as cosplay, responding to their avatar’s name and interacting with viewers in character.
A quick look at Apex Legends streams on Twitch reveals a number of VTubers, including “ShibuyaHAL” – who is signed to TSM as a content creator – and Scarz ALGS player Dan “rpr” Ušić . Between them, they have nearly half a million subscribers on Twitch. Timmy ‘iiTzTimmy’ An, one of the most popular Apex streamers, dons a custom Pathfinder avatar and VTubing the launch of Apex Legends’ anime-inspired Gaiden event. Apex Legends and VTubing go hand in hand.
I first considered the idea of a corporate VTuber during the trailer for Lifeline’s Tales from the Outlands, which explored her backstory in Frontier Wars as she tries to help wounded soldiers, despite his parents’ continued funding of the war. As Lifeline’s best friend, Octane plays an important role in the animated short, and the selfie-obsessed speedster livestreams her parents’ potential war crimes to shed light on the anti-government treatment. ethics of wounded soldiers. Octane would mate with a great streamer, I thought. Why has no one done this yet? Next, Apex Legends released three official avatar models from VTube.
I should explain what I mean by the concept of an “enterprise VTuber”. I’m talking about the co-option of VTubing for advertising purposes. It’s not quite the same as a sponsored stream, because in fact the VTuber would be embodying the character they’re playing as. “Watch Octane play Apex Legends Season 14” or “Here’s Vi trying out the new League of Legends patch.” It’s part cosplay, part role-playing, part streaming, and part advertising. But is it even possible? And if so, is it a reality?
It’s definitely a possibility for VTube like Octane, Mirage and Bangalore, as EA has released the official files to do so. But just streaming with an Apex avatar isn’t the same as the enterprise VTubing I’m talking about. It’s like streaming in cosplay, and while it certainly advertises the game, it only does so as much as any other streamer. But will Apex employ actors or streamers to get into character for a new season launch or big competition in the future? It seems like a possibility.
EA employed five cosplayers to take the stage at the ALGS Championship earlier this month, and IRL impersonations of Bloodhound, Caustic, Gibraltar, Revenant and Wattson brought a sense of grandeur to the occasion. So why stop there? Apex esports’ Multiview feature allows viewers to watch the action from any vantage point, and a corporate VTuber on a commentary desk seems like the natural extension of that. Jack ‘NiceWigg’ Martin, who hosts the B-streams of the tournament, has high Octane energy, just to say it.
Just as companies have jumped on cosplayers to market and promote their game, I predict the same will happen with VTubers over the next year. IRL Octanes will be hopping around Comic Con and E3 as virtual Octanes gameplay streaming for viewers online. It’s only a matter of time before gaming companies jump on this latest trend, bastardizing the creativity of VTubers in order to market their wares. Sure, it’ll be fun to see Octane perform as himself, but it’ll still be a commercial.
Next: Rings Of Power’s Meteor Man Might Be Based On Tolkien After All