“Yumi” is a young dude living somewhere in Germany who wasn’t particularly in shape and definitely not the star at his local nightclubs. But he has an HTC Vive full body capture rig, and now he’s doing this in VRChat on the regular, where’s he become a minor celebrity and social media star, both in VRChat and on his popular YouTube and Twitch streams. It's a testament to how full body tracking and social VR can bring out the best in people that they'd otherwise not likely share.
“I'm a hobby dancer pretty much,” he tells me. “Before VRChat I've never danced before, always the unathletic type of person. With the first ‘dance’ video on my [YouTube] channel all of this pretty much started to be real for me.” He learned more moves from real life dancers who've uploaded tutorials on their own YouTube channels, and applied them to his avatar.
He does dance IRL sometimes. “I prefer VR dancing. It's so much easier to just break into dancing to your favorite song with the shroud of anonymity... and dancing with a different avatar each time is hella fun.”
But he says dancing through his avatar has definitely improved his performance in real life:
“I would have never danced this much in my life EVER if I didn’t decide some months ago to buy VR. I feel a lot more confident in myself since then.”
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean his YouTube and Twitch stream will ever feature video of Yumi dancing in real life.
“I feel like that’s something I would do once or twice. I haven’t fully decided on that yet.”
For similar reasons, Yumi’s avatar looks nothing like its young dude owner.
“I like the feel of being these anime/videogame characters. I haven't actually thought about using an avatar that looks similar to me.” He laughs at the thought. “I’d be pretty boring to me probably, since I'm myself IRL all the time, right?”