VTubers are the future of YouTube. Just ask Kwebbelkop and Bloo.

By 08/19/2022
VTubers are the future of YouTube. Just ask Kwebbelkop and Bloo.

During his first nine years on YouTube, Jordi van den Bussche released new gaming videos with machine-like efficiency. The man known online as Kwebbelkop never strayed from his daily upload schedule, and that consistency helped him bring 15 million subscribers to his channel.

But as his channel progressed forward, van den Bussche began to feel the flames of burnout. As he struggled to keep up with the pace of other YouTube gamers, he stopped creating alongside longtime collaborators Jelly and Slogoman. He suffered from twitchy eyes and back pain. He could barely work for 10 minutes before he became exhausted. “You want to say yes to everything,” he told Tubefilter, “but I didn’t realize that my mental health was suffering because of it.”

In 2021, van den Bussche revealed the solution to his burnout problem: Bloo. That’s the name of a blue-haired VTuber created by the Kwebbelkop team. Bloo now has his own channel, and he just got a second one, too: On August 19, the first videos arrived on the hub known as Bloo Minecraft, which offers videos set within the titular sandbox game.


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Two channels for a single virtual character may seem like a big investment, but for van den Bussche, it’s barely the beginning. The Dutch creator envisions a world in which platforms like YouTube are dominated by VTubers, and he is on the leading edge of that trend.

New characters for personality-based channels

In contrast to gamers who win viewers with their competitive attitudes, van den Bussche is a “personality-based gamer.” That label has its pros and cons. On one hand, the Kwebbelkop channel has become a YouTube success story thanks to its host’s clean, energetic manner, not his in-game skills. But personality is a tough thing to replace, so when you’re burned out after a decade on YouTube, the next step of your career requires a creative solution.

Van den Bussche believes that VTubers like Bloo can be that solution. By creating a “virtual avatar,” the Kwebbelkop star is able “to run a personality-based channel [that is] not focused around me.” He told Tubefilter that “the biggest flaw of making a personality-based YouTube channel is that if I wanted to run it as a business I would always run into burnout.”

A flesh-and-blood creator can suffer setbacks for a number of reasons. They could have a close collaborator leave their channel or pass away. They could suffer from depression or get embroiled in a scandal. A VTuber persona, van den Bussche claims, is immune to those perils, because its personality can always be molded to meet the needs of an audience. That quality also makes VTubers great partners for brands, and Bloo has already uploaded plenty of sponsored videos.

To put it another way, creating Bloo gives van den Bussche a fresh start YouTube. If he feels he’s made any mistakes since launching the Kwebbelkop channel in 2012, now he can rectify them. “It’s a second chance,” van den Bussche told Tubefilter, “but a more modern version of it.”

“VTubers will rule the future”

2022 has been a landmark year for virtual creators. Top VTubers like Ironmouse and Kuzuha have smashed viewership records on platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming. Lil Miquela is getting brand deals. Even Tony the Tiger is hip to the trend.

The rise of the VTuber has been great news for Bloo. The spiky-haired Grand Theft Auto player has brought a half-million subs to his flagship channel, where he’s received more than 139 million views. According to van den Bussche, Bloo is currently profitable.

But Bloo’s creator is still waiting for the year-old character to surpass him. Van den Bussche has stated publicly that he plans to phase out the Kwebbelkop channel once Bloo’s viewership overtakes his. That could happen soon, but not yet. “Bloo can’t consistently outperform my main channel,” van den Bussche said, “so I can’t comfortably say I’m done.” In the meantime, the human and virtual sides of van den Bussche’s YouTube operation occasionally collaborate with one another.

Some observers have noticed that Kwebbelkop viewership declined after the launch of Bloo. That’s true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Bloo’s viewership is extra valuable because it opens up its creator to work on other projects — such as additional VTuber personalities. “VTubers will rule the future because you can run 100 channels,” van den Bussche told Tubefilter.

Bloo’s success may be ushering in the end of Kwebbelkop, but the Dutchman’s descent from the heights of YouTube was always inevitable. “All you see as a viewer is what’s happening in front of the camera, but you don’t really understand everything that’s happening in the process,” van den Bussche said. “It’s going to happen — voluntary or not — that your favorite YouTuber is going to have to retire.”

Are VTubers the superheroes of YouTube?

Characters like Bloo aren’t just valuable solutions for burnt-out YouTubers. They also represent a revolution in creator identity.

Like other VTubers, Bloo is controlled by motion capture software, which maps the movements of a real-life human onto the digital avatar. And thanks to voice cloning software, anyone can step to be Bloo. Three different people have performed the character so far, though van den Bussche noted that he himself isn’t one of them.

The thing is, van den Bussche isn’t sure that Bloo needs to have the same voice in all of his videos. He compared VTubers to Spider-Man: Though different actors have portrayed the web-slinger, their varied portrayals didn’t change the basic nature of the character.

On Bloo Minecraft, that theory will be put to the test. Spifey, a creator who will perform on that channel, will use his own voice.

What’s important to van den Bussche is how Bloo’s fans interpret the character. Since the VTuber has an open-ended personality, fans are free to let their imaginations run wild. Bloo can be any gender or any age. There only a few traits that are set in stone. For example, Bloo is a vegan.

And if viewers can find a way to connect with Bloo, perhaps they’ll prefer one of van den Bussche’s next VTubers. He suggested to Tubefilter that he might develop other IPs that are clad in other colors, like orange, red, and green.

Along the way, the creator known as Kwebbelkop will incorporate data from the VTuber channels to optimize the characters. Van den Bussche said that many people think Bloo is an AI who runs their own channel, and he doesn’t discredit that idea. “There are elements of truth to it,” he said.

Ultimately, though one person performs Bloo at a time, the character is only able to come to life through a team effort. “We’re all Bloo,” van den Bussche said, “and the channel wouldn’t be able to function without everyone.”

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