Virtual Character Start-Up Scone Leading the Way in the Subculture Market
In the 21st century, the global economy is witnessing a shift from traditional manufacturing and finance-focused “Goliath companies” to innovative “David companies” rooted in information and communication technology (ICT). This trend is evident in the success of start-ups like Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Alibaba, and TikTok, as well as Korean companies Naver, Kakao, Nexon, and Coupang. These new businesses are not only creating new added value but also generating employment opportunities both domestically and internationally.
While the allure of entrepreneurship continues to grow, the path to success remains arduous. This article showcases start-ups that have persevered through the challenges of the competitive business landscape, gradually ascending from their humble beginnings to achieve significant growth.
Enter Scone: Pioneering the Virtual Character Realm
Scone is a start-up company that supports the creation of natural and distinctive virtual characters. These characters, known as vertebrates, have gained popularity in subcultures such as animation and gaming. Through Scone’s flagship service, “Michu,” creators who prefer anonymity can broadcast their content without revealing their true identities. In contrast to virtual humans, which have yet to establish a loyal following, virtual characters tap into the thriving subculture market.
Scone’s virtual characters utilize cutting-edge game platform technology to capture user movements and react in real time. The simplicity of content creation is a key advantage: using basic equipment like a smartphone, creators can easily produce engaging videos. For instance, an actor uploading a song video can simulate a live music performance from various perspectives, accompanied by dynamic choreography. This versatility enables creators to provide an immersive experience for their audience.
Moreover, Scone stands out for its expertise in natural and vibrant modeling. Unlike many other virtual companies that offer generic characters, Scone tailors each character to reflect the individual characteristics of its creator. This meticulous attention to detail allows for more authentic and fluid movements in videos, enhancing the overall viewing experience.
CEO Ki Ki-su commented on the significance of this individualized approach, stating, “Each person possesses unique facial features and expressions. By customizing characters from the planning stage, Scone ensures seamless integration of technology and aesthetics, eliminating any awkwardness.”
Tapping into the Domestic and International Markets
Scone’s Michu service initially catered to a select group of participants through the Virtuber Support Program due to its high cost. However, as demand surged, the company started receiving requests for upgraded modeling from established domestic Virtubers. With this growing popularity, Scone has signed contracts with approximately 17 to 18 Vertubers, with plans to expand its roster with three to four additional signings by the year’s end.
Looking ahead, Scone has ambitious plans to establish virtual girl and boy groups that embody K-pop concepts. Moreover, the company aims to secure television appearances on prominent terrestrial programs like MBC. Beyond individual creators, Scone is also making strides in the business-to-business (B2B) virtual character market. Their expertise in 3D production and live solutions has attracted collaborations with companies like Samyang Foods, Daekyo, KOTRA, and Samsung Securities.
Scone’s collaboration with renowned game developers such as Netmarble and Actozsoft further bolsters its position in the market. Their technology for implementing 3D characters in games or facilitating live broadcasts without disclosing personal information has attracted attention from the gaming industry.
With confirmed success in the Japanese Vertuber market, Scone envisions launching full-scale expansion into English-speaking countries like Australia, the United States, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The company has already secured contracts with Japanese and Australian Vertubers, with broadcasting in those countries commencing this month. CEO Ki affirms their commitment to diversification, stating, “We will not limit ourselves to B2B character business. Our long-term pursuit includes developing games utilizing virtual character intellectual property rights, thereby creating additional revenue streams.”
As Scone continues to revolutionize the virtual character landscape, their innovative endeavors are reshaping the subculture market and paving the way for a new era of content creation and entertainment.
▲ CEO Ki Ki-soo’s own character produced by Scone. Photo = scone
If the global economy of the 20th century was led by ‘Goliath companies’ focused on manufacturing and finance, many predict that the 21st century economy will be led by innovative new ‘David companies’. In fact, new businesses based on information and communication technology (ICT) have been the protagonists of changes in the global economy and market over the past 20 years. Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Alibaba, and TikTok, as well as Korea’s Naver, Kakao, Nexon, and Coupang, all began as individual startups. These new businesses are leading the way in creating new added value and new occupations (jobs) in the offshore and domestic economies.
Enthusiasm for entrepreneurship at home and abroad, benchmarking and dreaming of becoming a ‘star’ new business that has grown from being just a ‘shepherd’ to being a proud ‘general’, is hotter than ever. However, the process to taste the fruits of success is very difficult. We introduce start-ups who are ‘descendants of David’ who constantly practice their skills to survive in the ‘jungle game’ where they start a business but experience more frustration than success until they jump -start (growth). <편집자 주>
[에너지경제신문 김유승 기자] A person who embodies a character that expresses actions or facial expressions using special equipment, including a camera, and broadcasts on social media (SNS) such as YouTube is called a ‘virtual (virtual + YouTuber).’
Scone is a start-up company that supports ‘Michu’, a service that creates natural and unique characters so that vertebrates, recently popular in subcultures such as animation and games, can be active.
Ki Ki-su, CEO of Scon, said, “Using virtual characters allows creators who don’t want their faces to be revealed to start broadcasting, and unlike virtual humans whose fandom is not yet confirmed , it has the advantage of being able to tap into the current subculture market.” .
The virtual character currently being produced uses game platform technology to capture user movements and react in real time. Once a character is created, the person who will be playing the character can continue to produce content with only simple equipment such as a cell phone. is an advantage.
For example, when an actor uploads a video of a song, CEO Ki explained that the video can be filmed from different perspectives as if performing live on a music broadcast, and that dance, which is one of’ r popular content, instantly implemented as a video by dancing with the tools.
Another advantage of scones is that they support natural and vibrant modeling. Most virtual companies do not create characters tailored to individual characteristics, making it difficult to naturally express movements, but Scon supports individual characters from the planning stage at the signing of a contract, allowing for lively operation.
CEO Ki said, “Face-based data, such as eye size and expression change level, are all different for each individual, so applying the technology in batches creates awkward parts,” and added , “Scone solved this shortcoming by improving character creation abilities .”
In particular, Sconn’s unique technological capability was emphasized as having the advantage of making it easier for actors to gain popularity by analyzing character popularity trends worldwide and supporting the concept, color, and modeling of original work according to the person and will act. .
At first, the price of the Michu service was high, so it was mainly used by new creators selected for the Virtuber Support Program, but now, with requests for modeling upgrades coming from medium to large domestic Virtubers, said Chief Executive Ki that the service has started to become popular in the domestic market.
▲Image of a group of vertebrae belonging to Scone Picture = Scone
Scone has currently signed contracts with approximately 17 to 18 Vertubers, and plans to sign additional contracts with 3 to 4 people by the end of the year. CEO Ki said, “We plan to hold a swap concert with our affiliated virtuosos at the end of the year to announce our ‘virtual group’.”
In the future, the goal is also to introduce a virtual girl group with a K-POP concept and a boy group representing a K-POP band group, and also appear on terrestrial programs such as MBC.
Currently, Scone is emerging not only in individual creators but also in the B2B (business-to-business) virtual character market. We supported 3D production and live solutions for Samyang Foods’ ‘Binggraus’, which has recently become popular on social media, and we have also collaborated with various companies such as Daekyo, KOTRA, and Samsung Securities.
In particular, Scon, which collaborates with game companies such as Netmarble and Actozsoft, is receiving an increasing number of requests from the gaming industry as its technology for implementing characters in the game in 3D or broadcasting without the game operator revealing its information directly. face has become known.
CEO Ki said, “We have confirmed the possibility of success in the Japanese vertuber market through 3D modeling technology,” and added, “We will start full-scale overseas expansion next year and move on from Japan to English countries -American like Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.” revealed.We expect it to act as a stepping stone for overseas expansion as we have already completed contracts with Japanese and Australian vertebrates and started broadcasting in those countries starting this month.
CEO Ki emphasized, “We will not stop at B2B character business and create virtual groups and idol groups, but we will develop games using virtual character IP (intellectual property rights) to create a profit model for the secondary industry.”
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