#968: Virtual Market 5 is an Inspiring, Community-Driven Artist Expo in VRChat with Worldbuilding & Avatar Innovations

Virtual Market 5 opens today December 18th, 2020 at 6p PST (Dec 19th at 11a JST), and will run until January 10th at 6a PST (11p JST). It will feature over 1500 VR artists and creators in 30+ worlds in VRChat that features avatars, meshes, clothes, music, prefabs, shaders, tutorials, and all sorts of other virtual goods for VR enthusiasts and immersive creators. It’s the impressive virtual expo of the year with some of the most awe-inspiring worlds and virtual experiences.

The first Virtual Market (aka Vket) started in the Japanese VRChat community on August 26, 2018, and featured around 80 artists and creators. HIKKY is a Japanese company that’s been running the virtual markets, and so there’s been a distinct imprint of Japanese culture and language in Vket 1-4. But the Vket Global Team has been bringing in more international creators, and creating English language options to make it more accessible to non-native Japanese speakers.

There’s an impressive amount of innovation and creativity when it comes to world building and experiential design for the consumer experience, as the Virtual Market is run and managed by 80% volunteer work. There are a number of corporate sponsor worlds with companies from around the world who are interested in experimenting with experiential marketing, but also connecting to the bleeding edge of virtual culture within VRChat.

lhunI talk with the Director of the Vket Global Team LilBagel as well as the CTO and Process Manager Lhun on Wednesday, December 16th after getting a 2.5-hour tour and sneak peak of some of the new worlds for Vket 5. I’m really blown away at the increased level of worldbuilding and experiential design, and the size, scope, and professional polish of the Virtual Market, which won the well-deserved AIXR award for best marketing experience in 2020 with Virtual Market 4. We explore some of the deeper context for why Vket originally came about, and how it’s evolved over the years. I also get some of history of how Japanese anime culture has become so ubiquitous in apps like VRChat.


Check out Shanie MyrsTear’s preview of Virtual Market 5

This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality