Krafton Debuts First Virtual Being for Its Metaverse, Ana
Korean video game developer Krafton this week introduced Ana, its first virtual human for the metaverse. Ana’s synthetically generated voice and appearance is powered by a conversational AI to interact with people exploring the digital worlds of the metaverse as Krafton first promised back in February.
Krafton leveraged its experience with the Unreal Engine for its popular Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds online game empire to produce the hyperrealistic appearance of Ana. That includes details only noticed in their absence like tiny hairs and skin imperfections, pupil dilation, and joint movement. The virtual being uses a text-to-speech and lip-sync technology combined with a synthetically generated voice to mimic human conversation. Ana can emote with her words and even sing and dance realistically, according to the company.
“Ana is a hyper-realistic virtual human created by Krafton’s unparalleled technology. We expect her to attract the interest and popularity of Gen Z around the world,” Krafton creative center head Josh Seokjin Shin said. “Ana will release an original music track and expand her scope of activity as an influencer into various areas across entertainment and esports.”
Krafton Virtual Friends
Krafton plans to set Ana up on its new metaverse platform, called “Interactive Virtual World,” one of several digital spaces rolling out from major tech companies worldwide. Ana and her future digital siblings will serve as virtual hosts and friends to visitors, guiding them through activities and games in the metaverse
The metaverse and virtual beings to populate the digital space have become one of the hottest conversational AI and virtual reality trends. The platforms and tech developers working on aspects of it don’t lack for investors. Startups like Bud, Hour One, Supertone, Resemble AI, Veritone, and DeepBrain are all grabbing cash and clients. The number of potential platforms for virtual beings is also mushrooming across the globe, with Meta and Nvidia’s Omniverse in the U.S., Baidu’s XiRang metaverse in China, and the Jio-financed metaverse in India representing some of the more prominent examples. As for music, LG’s virtual spokesperson is already recording a music album, playing catch-up to CoCo Hub, although a newly virtual Simon Cowell may give them all some competition.