In 2019 I embarked on a project that was part social experiment, part real-time character and entirely unhinged! We set out to develop a virtual gamer that would stream on Twitch 3-4 hours a day for 4-5 days a week. We spent months designing, styling, and writing a backstory for a character that would be our first venture into the vTuber online vStreamer world. We landed funding that would support the project for two years! We were living the dream.
Then the Pandemic lockdowns came.
Our funding was pulled due to the uncertain climate of the time, and the entire project was stripped down to a skeleton crew and setup at the performer's parents house with spotty WiFi.
Violet launched February of 2020 and was debuted during TwitchAid playing Fortnite alongside @Unknownxarmy ( a ranked Fortnite streamer ). Within the first day she racked up over 10k followers from the event.. and the momentum never seemed to be just getting started.
Violet streamed from home during the pandemic every day for 2 years! She organically grew her fanbase, got deals to collab with Juicy Couture, Marylin Monroe Estate, and some others that escape me. The performer, Jayleen, had taken ownership of the persona and was making Violet a success. We learned two years of streaming daily worth of vTuber experience in that time. Experience that that has allowed us to pitch and land a year contract running the real-time characters for M&Ms for which Jayleen performed as well!
The Violet project contract ran out and was shut down on Dec 31st 2021. She was ultimately a success in the lab, but not commercially which is death in this business. The Mill and it's Partner had decided at the start that they would stay anonymous around the creation of Violet to allow her to grow organically, and not be seen as a corporate shill. We maintained brand-friendly content which perhaps in hindsight didn't help us break out. We had moderate success, but in the end we couldn't get to the tipping point that Code Miko achieved having started around the same time.
Now a days In 2022, we use Violet to talk about virtual characters, vTubers, and our capabilities around broadcasting live virtual characters. She represents our experience in the space and demonstrates for clients what having a virtual influencer is about. She predates Metahumans and has become obsolete as a technology. However, on her shoulders our real-time character team continues to develop cutting edge real-time characters! We have developed and host a full cast of advanced real-time characters now based on the knowledge we learned from Violet.
Today we lifted the moratorium around talking about the project by having a look at a Summer party where Violet hosted a retro Barcade within the party itself. I got to Creative Direct the Barcade and really enjoyed how it turned out. Retro arcades, backlight reactive floor, and a BTS monitor to see Jayleen perform Violet live at the event! My first Pop Up.
I'm proud to have been the Father of Violet, and will continue pushing in this space for narrative driven characters.
I'll post more about the content we created with Violet in another post.