VTubers Are a Different Type of Streamer

Usada Pekora is another Hololive VTuber -- a part of their third generation of VTubers. Shes a top Super Chat earner on YouTube.

Hololive Inc.

Usada Pekora is another Hololive VTuber — a part of their third generation of VTubers. She’s a top Super Chat earner on YouTube.

Margaret Young, Staff Writer

Hololive and Nijisanji, what do these have in common? These are  agencies for virtual streamers, VTubers. Using face-tracking, a rigged avatar, and some screen recording software, this type of streamer is able to stream the same sort of content as a normal streamer, but just using an avatar instead of their actual face. 

Kizuna Ai, the first VTuber to coin the term “Virtual Youtuber,” also paved the way for VTubers in the future and still continues to make content to this day. (Wikimedia Commons)

So when did VTubers start becoming a thing? Well, it started back in 2016, with the emergence of Kizuna Ai, a virtual idol going to YouTube and coining the term ‘Virtual Youtuber.’ Her appearance was a huge breakthrough and set about a wave of new VTubers, with the likes of Kaguya Luna and Nekomiya Hinata appearing around the same time.

After a few years, the hype over this type of content creator died down, with the genre still popular, but not really as widespread overseas as it was in Japan.

Until about 2018, a new company emerged, called Nijisanji. They introduced new streamers with a new type of avatar, using a cheaper Live2D avatar, over the more expensive 3D models of Kizuna and Luna. And they changed the focus of the type of content they produced, streaming now over the pre-recorded videos of old. It introduced a new renaissance of Vtubers, because Live2D was more accessible than the 3D models. People were learning how to rig these models and use them for themselves. 

Gawr Gura, currently the most popular VTuber of the Hololive EN branch, has amassed over 1 million subscribers on YouTube and is one of the top Super Chat earners. (Hololive Inc.)

So, why would someone use an avatar instead of their face? There are a variety of reasons, but the main reasons would be for privacy and the comfort of the streamer. As Imane Anys, known more popularly as “Pokimane,” said in a WIRED article, “I think it’s a really cool thing, and I think a lot of female streamers would like to use it when they don’t want to use a cam.”

Another reason would be the freedom that a model provides to the streamer, separating their streaming career form their personal life. As reported in the same WIRED article, “‘People will feel more free to be themselves,’ says Bunny_Gif, a VTuber with bunny ears. ‘VTubing gives you a whole bunch of freedom that normal streams don’t. You can express yourself so differently with an avatar,’ she says.” 

Tubing has become more accessible to everyone, and now new VTubers are debuting nearly every day. So, who knows, maybe someone you know will become a VTuber. Either way, it’s a good way to stream and gain an audience and maybe even confidence in yourself.