Continuing our annual tradition, VTuber NewsDrop reached out to several personalities in the VTuber scene—from interviewers, commentators to fellow newsmen—to understand their thoughts in the VTubing scene.
In the first part, we asked these personalities what could be the biggest VTuber news stories of 2023. On the conclusion to this double-feature, we asked them to forecast VTubing in 2024.
Bluesura, a Japanese culture observer looking into the overseas VTuber scene, expects an increase in the number of VTuber firms which will be active in different countries. "YAGOO [Motoaki Tanigo, COVER Corp CEO] is also eager to promote VTuber culture in other countries. Brave Group is establishing bases in various countries and expanding horizontal connections. I believe that in the future we will need to pay attention to the developments in each individual country."
BJ Choi of South Korea-based VTuber news website VROZ expects 2024 to be the year that the overseas VTuber market is as much active as it is in Japan. "The growth of the VTuber market in the US, Latin America and Europe is widely expected, but VROZ is currently giving an eye to the rise of VTubers in Korea and the SEA region."
Academic researcher Rafael Regis from Brazil told NewsDrop that more people from the world's 5th largest internet user base are discovering VTubers. "A lot of people are discovering for example the Brazilian agency Neobaka who was invited to CCXP, the largest ACG event in Latin America, so it's a new wave approach to begin for new markets, and it's interesting when we realize that Brazil has the 5th largest cyberspace and has a big Japanese culture heritage."
More Presence Beyond Watching on Screen
"In 2024 VTubing has a chance to continue to break through to a larger mainstream medium," commentator and video editor Evanit0 forecasts. "I do believe that will continue to happen because other creators in space have been doing bigger and bigger things that the rest of the world just won't be able to ignore much longer."
Interviewer Domo Arigathanks highly agrees. "A couple years ago it was unheard of to see VTubers attending conventions in small panels. Today, VTubers are headlining conventions; you’ll be seeing a lot more of that.
"I think 2023 was about breaking the plane of ice introducing people to the concept of VTubers. People know now, so now it’s about showing everyone why this community is so special and what good can come of it."
John, host of Otaku Talk, personally wished to meet for VTubers at events, "given that we are at an age where we have the technology and new programs for VTubers to use to make things more accessible to see them as guests, on the artist alleys, meet and greets, and even them maneuvering on robots as they explore the convention floor."
...and if the current technology gets limited by challenges in infrastructure, VTubers can opt to be present in person.
"As an example, AKA Virtual and Evelyn [Hai Halo Epel!] are now Hybrid. What makes them different is that Evelyn decided to create a full body suit just for her persona, while AKA Virtual members decided to just use a personalized wig and costume without hiding the IRL face of their talent," Syarian Naufal Alfarizy of NewsDrop partner Nawala Karsa said.
In addition, BJ also teased us on what's to come for the Korean market: Korea's first brick-and-mortar store which only features VTubers will be launched soon.
"The general public's awareness of VTubing continues to grow, as does technology, investment, and innovation in the space. With this growth comes increased potential for VTubers, artists, and other creators," J, the host of VTuber Talk, says.
"If anything, I anticipate that we will see the VTubing 'scene' increasingly blur with broader content creation as more creators realize that getting and using a VTuber model is easier than ever, and that having a VTuber model doesn't mean you have to use it all the time."
Some VTubers aspire to become voice actors in the future, and with the direction VTubing in general is taking—from music projects to voice packs—the future is not far off.
Translator and VTuber enthusiast Kim Morrissy have this forecast: "I think we will see more corpo VTubers take on voice acting roles in anime and video games, releasing albums, performing in concerts, and collaborating with big brands. There is a growing pipeline from VTubing to voice acting."
The Challenges and Pressure to Stay Relevant
"I think 2024 will be a year when the industry expands more. I can already sense so many VTuber agencies cropping up (a bad or good thing depending on your outlook)," noted VTuber historian Depressed Nousagi thinks.
"At least on the hololive production side of things, their efforts behind the scenes this year, including starting new projects, continuing ongoing ones, opening their new studio, hosting significant recruitment campaigns, implementing strategic internal changes, among other things, will really start to bear fruit in [this] coming year," the owner of fan website hololive Today adds.
However, even Nousagi was still cautiously positive about VTubing this year—and for a good reason.
"I think that we will continue to see more VTuber graduations due to the demand of higher quality content as well as people craving genuine connections to their oshi," VTuber Mari Yume warns. "Unless you are in an agency where you're contracted to kayfabe, Indie creators will start moving towards 'authentic' content."
Mari, who took three years to produce enough evergreen content for her YouTube channel, advises anyone who wants to do VTubing as a long-time career to be patient and figure their long-term strategy.
"It was a very slow and painful grind and I had to watch other people grow faster than me, but my growth is stable and it's not going anywhere. My 3-year content cycle is going to go on for another 3+ years because I decided to focus on long-term goals, not short-term gains."
Kim sees that the pressure for independent VTubers and smaller agencies could be harder than those in large ones: "...it is a bit harder these days for indie VTubers and even the smaller agencies to make a splash because of the crowded market."
Popular VTuber newsman FalseEyeD, host of Things VTubers Say, remarks that the issues that continue to challenge smaller VTuber players will continue to trickle down: "2024 out the gate will see further criticism of VTuber agencies, be it from their poor treatment of their talents to fundamentally broken business models that are now coming to light."
Fellow creator Khyo also shares False's sentiments—at least for the start of the year. "I think realistically 2024, at least the beginning, may mirror a lot of this year. In [December] 2023 we’ve seen a lot of graduation announcements from agencies and have even seen the closure of a respected group (VYugen)."
Concerns in VTubing not only affects VTubers but their fanbases as well. "...while it's true that I think the space will continue to grow and mature, the nature of the fan base makes me extremely hesitant about its long-term sustainability," Hannah Lee of NanteJapan explains.
If there's one underlying thing, it's "...getting out of the comfort zone," Malaysian VTuber superfan Alia Nabalu shares.
VTubing is Here to Stay
While there is the increasing pressure in VTubing, commentator Keniisu takes things positively. "My outlook for the VTubing scene in the next year is mostly positive as I think the niche is starting to stabilize from the boom which occurred as many indies, groups and small agencies flooded into the scene.
"I think with this stabilization, we'll see innovation on the often-formulaic ways in which creators approach VTubing and growing an audience and community with their content."
"I think [this] year will be the year that VTubers make it clear they're here to stay, and branch out beyond what we've been accustomed to," commentator Mr. Underhill forecasts. "...I think we'll see lots of new talents emerge, older talents continue to hone their skill, and lots of experimentation as well."
"People talk about the 'VTuber bubble bursting' a lot, but honestly, I think we're far past that point now," Penumbral, a creator known for his quick weekly news recaps, stressed.
"VTubing isn't even really just one homogenous community anymore, it's just another type of content creation that anyone can pick up and jump into. [...] Every year we get more concerts, more debuts, new cool tech, more awesome models, new insane artists and riggers and events that we wouldn't have even thought possible a few years prior."
"I think VTubers are slowly blending more and more with other Content Creators. [...] I’d love for VTubing to be a medium for all types of creators rather than a segregated and disregarded industry," Taledo, another content creator producing topical videos on VTubing and streaming culture, notices.
"Whatever happens, I’m hopeful virtual creators will continue to make their presence known, whether some fellas like that or not."
Naufal believes that 2024 will be a good year for those who want to do more than just VTubing, as there is an open window for more creative ways to enjoy VTubing.
At the end of all of this, John is excited to see what the year brings for the VTuber scene. "The future is bright and I am very proud for each and every Vtuber from around the world because of their hard work, passion, dedication, and ambitions. I hope each of them who is reading this knows that you are doing a job well done."
Overall, the general forecast for VTubing in 2024 is mostly optimistic and positive, with some neutral and critical outlooks on the side.
We sincerely thank our invited guests for taking the time to answer our questions as they take their breaks during the holidays. Lastly, we thank you, our readers, for reading until the end.
If you have questions or feedback, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Twitter/X or via email at hello [@] vtubernewsdrop.com.