The New Frontier of Metaverse Madness

In the evening is a monthly series that explores China’s lively nightlife and the list of young people who make parties the most fun in the country. This month, we brought the practice of “cloud clubbing” to the metaverse.

Every night between 9 and 10 pm, tens of thousands of Shiba Inu dogs rock the dance floor of one of China’s tallest nightclubs. Some nurses beer and milk tea between their legs, many basketballs bouncing with strange skill, and others are glued to games on their cell phones.

No, you’re not completely crazy yet; the scene in front of you is in the metaverse and the furry crowd is made up of avatars.

The nightclub in question, Xiugou Nightclub, is the setting for a virtual reality nightly broadcast live daily. To watch the movie, log on to the Chinese video-sharing site bilibili.

One of the many trends in the world that has evolved since covid putting its shadow around the world, cloud clubbing is the new alternative to the sweat floor at dance and boozy parties.

Instead of worrying about the perfect dress and makeup, just turn on your computer, sit back and relax – and rely on your beautiful Shiba avatar to start the dance moves.

Most cloud parties than live streams where DJs spin records for a virtual audience. On video platforms like Zoom, webcams often depict cloud clubbers sipping their drinks and bowing their heads to the beat of the music.

But Xiugou Nightclub is a different beast, involving memes and interactive games.

The game meets memes

Founded in December 2021, Xiugou Nightclub has consistently topped the “hottest live stream” charts in Bilibili. The cloud clubbing event attracted an average of 20,000 to 30,000 attendees, with the most successful session having 3 million attendees.

A dynamic group of more than 10 young people is responsible for the virtual activity. Shenzhen -based Nic, who chose not to share his last name, is a day game designer and manager of Xiugou nightclub. He told RADII that the project was inspired by their love of memes and “bullet chat games”, a particular form of interactive game.

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An example of a bullet chat game in Bilibili. Users are presented and can choose to “perform” any of the actions listed at the top of the screen. Screenshot by Bilibili

A commenting function from Japan, bullet chats (danmu in Mandarin) allow viewers to send live feedback to their screens-just like hitting bullets hard. It adds an interactive dimension to otherwise passive streaming experiences.

Compared to other video platforms in China, Bilibili has the most successful your gray hair. And Xiugou Nightclub takes commentary to the next level: each comment triggers a quick morphing reaction. For example, typing “create character” causes a Cheems-inspired avatar to be brought to the virtual dance floor.

Even if Cheems is the only avatar available today, the customization allows clubbers in the cloud to express their individuality. Typing “Coke” creates a virtual glass of the world’s most popular soft drink at your feet in Cheems, while “riding the little train” has your avatar drifting around the dance floor in a breakneck speed.

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Poster for Valentine’s Day party at Xiugou Nightclub with two avatars inspired by Cheems. Photo courtesy of Xiugou Nightclub

Byron Cheng, 23, is a freelance designer based in Chengdu and one of the co-founders of Xiugou Nightclub. According to him, the bullet comments make the virtual club accessible by eliminating the need for special equipment such as game consoles or Google Glasses. This gives Xiugou Nightclub an edge over other VR platforms such as The sandbox or Decentralized.

Although not a brick and mortar establishment, the club includes real dough. Virtual gifts cost between 198 and 2,233 RMB (about 31 to 350 USD), and premium interactions – like skipping a song or jumping into the DJ booth – cost more.

“Even if the functions are still standard, our goal is to give players a tool to express themselves and show their personality to others on live broadcasts,” Nic explains.

More exciting parts are on the way, the founders of Xiugou Nightclub told RADII. For example, they are developing separate rooms with different queues to overcome the limitations of a cramped virtual space.

metaverse clubbing china
The chaotic dance floor at Xiugou Nightclub is filled with Shiba Inu -inspired avatars. Screenshot by Bilibili

Cheng added that they also design VIP tables. “We plan to invite KOLs and influencers to join the party so users can purchase premium experiences and sit at the same table as them.”

A paradise for DJs and introverts

The love between video games and live music began in early 2019, when fortnite invites American DJ Marshmello to perform a virtual concert on a game broadcast live.

Faced with the lack of making the tracks during the Covid era, other famous faces saw a moment. Ariana Grande and Travis Scott have their share of fame fortnite while Lil Nas X “took the mic” on Roblox; all these movies are ranked among ‘best in-game gig of all time. ‘

On that note, Xiugou Nightclub is also experimenting with real queues of entertainers.

Twenty -five -year -old DJ, music production teacher and digital creator, Vesk Green is the headline of Hyperlinks, a virtual music festival hosted by Xiugou Nightclub. Born Lu Zhirong and based in Guangzhou, the artist says: “What I love about playing online is to have the freedom to present some of my latest creations, while on Offline DJ sets, always I had to read in the room and play songs based on the nightclub atmosphere.

He pointed out that cloud clubbing can benefit anyone with a busy schedule or unable to travel.

Cloud clubbing in the metaverse has also attracted unused audiences, said Xiugou Nightclub team member Stan. As just a regular clubber among the founders, Stan observed how online and offline clubbers can be grouped into different groups.

He believes many traditional club goers are more interested in meeting potential partners than the music itself: “Some clubs in China hire dancers and employees just to attract customers. Only a few of the clubs in the country focuses on quality electronic music and must rely on ticket sales for their revenue.

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One of the stages Cheng designed for the Hyperlinks Virtual Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Xiugou Nightclub

Cloud clubbing benefits true music lovers looking for cheap down time.

Shanghai-based student Hou Chunxiao may be surrounded by countless nightlife options (pre-lockdown, however), but still prefer cloud clubbing. According to him, online clubbing doesn’t need to empty your pockets or use a lot of emotional energy; this makes the Metaverse the perfect party place for introverts.

“To party at Xiugou Nightclub, you don’t have to buy a fancy dress, put on makeup, or waste money on club entrance fees. You don’t have to have a lot of friends anymore, ”he said. “Because everyone on the virtual dance floor is the same, no one feels inferior and doesn’t have to engage in real interactions.”

To the Metaverse and Beyond

Even if cloud clubbing and metaverse experiences are still in their infancy stage of development in China, those involved with Xiugou Nightclub are optimistic about the prospects.

Nic and Cheng plan to work full-time at Xiugou Nightclub soon, while Vesk Green hopes the project will help boost China’s electronic music scene.

“I feel that cloud clubbing has a lot of recognition in China. I hope it will continue to grow and allow everyone without the opportunity to attend offline activities to discover electronic music and the surrounding its culture, ”according to DJ.

Chinese clubbing metaverse
Poster for Xiugou Nightclub hyperlinks. Photo courtesy of Xiugou Nightclub

The quick-thinking and active founders of Xiugou Nightclub are already exploring the possibilities of hosting online events abroad. Some are new Twitch account can be a platform to reproduce events for foreign audiences not in Bilibili.

Cheng explained that even though interactive livestreaming was born on Twitch a few years ago, the trend fell flat after the first wave of interest. “I think our biggest challenge is to maintain momentum and grow our user base, but also retain our existing users and offer even more exciting features.”

Whether cloud clubbing continues to grow and introduce even the most timid internet user to EDM and club culture remains to be seen. While waiting for new developments, bouncing techno beats into the sea of ​​Cheems is still a hell of an experience not to be forgotten.

Cover photo by Zhuohan Shao

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