'Rosie', a virtual human being active in advertisements, etc.  On May 8th, she appeared on SBS radio 'Cultwo Show' and attracted attention.  (Provided by Naver)

#1 on the music charts at the same time as their debut… ‘Popular Pick’ and ‘Advertising Queen’ Virtual Idol

‘Rosie’, a virtual human being active in advertisements, etc. On May 8th, she appeared on SBS radio ‘Cultwo Show’ and attracted attention. (Provided by Naver)

If you look at the record, it looks like the emergence of a ‘super-special’ rookie idol. This idol group, which debuted last year, has something special that sets it apart from other idols. That he’s not a real person. The protagonist of this record is the virtual girl group ‘Different World Idol’.

Virtual characters and virtual idols are gaining popularity with the Gen Z public. Active in various fields such as idols, advertising models, and home shopping broadcasts, he is showing steps that are no less than real celebrities.

The six-member virtual girl group ‘Different World Idol’ debuted in December of last year. It was planned and created by YouTuber ‘Wow Wow Good’. It was a project that could only be one of many content on YouTube, but when it led to their actual debut, an explosive response followed. As soon as they debuted, another world idol, their debut song topped the Bugs real-time chart and ranked second on the Gaon chart. It was ranked #5 on YouTube Music’s trending music chart. Four months after their debut, the number of views of the music video has exceeded 6 million.

Virtual YouTubers like other world idols create animation-like virtual characters using computer graphics, etc., and broadcast using these characters. Because motion capture equipment captures human movements and voices in real time and implements them as characters, instantaneous reactions and communication are possible similar to real human YouTubers. In addition to idols from another world, voice actor Yuri Seo’s virtual idol project ‘Lona Universe’ and animation company Maros Studio’s ‘V&U’ are making their ‘debuts’ one after another.

‘Virtual character’ is also one of the most popular models in the current retail industry. If a virtual YouTuber is close to a real person wearing a character’s costume and ‘acting’, the virtual person can be viewed as a completely new character created by AI in the virtual space. The most active fictional character is also Rosie. Rosie, a virtual human influencer ‘made’ by Naver, is running in various fields, from advertisements to live commerce. Recently, he appeared on SBS radio ‘Cultwo Show’ by adding voice technology. Rosie’s revenue last year is estimated at about 1.5 billion won.

Another virtual influencer, YooA, is also receiving love calls from the advertising industry. Following actors Kim Tae-hee and Jun Ji-hyun, she was also selected as a model for Guangdong ‘Corn Beard Tea’. Afun Interactive’s virtual idol ‘Apokey’ has 3 million followers on social media such as YouTube and TikTok.

In the past, fictional characters were only a moment of interest, but now they are establishing themselves as popular icons. Starting with the cyber singer ‘Adam’, similar digital singers have often appeared over the past 20 years. However, it disappeared after collecting topics for a while, but there was no character that settled like a real singer. Even in the case of virtual YouTubers such as idols from another world, it was the so-called ‘B-class culture’ that only a small percentage of maniacs enjoyed.

The older generation saw them and perceived them as heterogeneous, feeling the ‘unpleasant valley (discomfort felt by seeing non-human beings that are very similar to humans)’. However, Generation Z, who are familiar with the metaverse and non-face-to-face platforms such as ZEPETO, accept it relatively naturally, and furthermore, become a fandom and cheer for them. It goes without saying that the level of realization of a virtual human has become much more plausible and natural than before as technology develops.

As demand is confirmed, large corporations are also jumping into related businesses one after another. KT announced that it would make its artificial intelligence platform ‘Giga Genie’ into a virtual human with the startup Deep Brain AI. Hyundai Motor Company is also preparing a virtual human-based in-vehicle assistant service. Naver invested 7 billion won in 2020 in Giant Step, a VFX company that creates virtual humans. Last year, SK Square invested 8 billion won in Onmind, a virtual human developer.

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