Japan's largest indie game show BitSummit will hold an online event due to the coronavirus pandemic

Many events are currently being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. BitSummit, Japan's largest indie game show, is one of them. So they will hold an online event "BitSummit Gaiden" from June 27th to 28th.

BitSummit is Japan's largest indie game festival held in Kyoto every year. Their purpose is to "show Japanese interesting indie games to foreign countries" and was launched in the latter half of 2012. The initial number of visitors was small, about 200, but in 2018 the number of visitors exceeded 11,000 and grew into a huge event.
They planned to hold it again in May this year, but postponed it due to a coronavirus pandemic. So they are holding BitSummit Gaiden, an online showcase of games from developers who couldn't attend the event.
These are the contents of the event.

-Live streaming via BitSummit official Twitch channel
-Virtual developers booths where you can interact with developers on Discord
-Live streaming by influencers
-Demo play of selected games sponsored by BitSummit

Information about special guest speakers, influencers, and sponsors will be announced on the BitSummit website, Twitter, and Facebook soon. In addition, a charity related to the coronavirus pandemic is planned.

Japanese mobile game superstar Nameko is back with power-ups

Nameko is a veteran Japanese mobile game character. Many games and character goods have been released since his/her first mobile game Mushroom Garden(Nameko Saibai Kit : なめこ栽培キット) was released in June 2011. True, his/her recent popularity has settled down, but he/she continues to update. Mushroom Garden Deluxe Kiwami, the latest mobile game from the Nameko series, has been released today. Download is free(iOS/Android).

This is a renewal version of Mushroom Garden Deluxe released in 2012, which is more playable and more powerful. The high quality game screen, the addition of new Namekos, allows you to harvest more than 700 Namekos. Also, new background music and new features have been added.

Unfortunately, the English version has not been released yet, but since the Nameko series up to now is available in multiple languages including English, probably this will also be released in English.
Even so, this series is really fatal. The first game was released three months after The Great East Japan Earthquake and the latest release of the series was released during the coronavirus pandemic. Nameko is a Japanese time-killing companion.


The postponed movie Black Widow will participate in the VR Creative Festival

Currently, movie theaters throughout Japan are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and many new movies have been postponed. Black Widow is one of them. It was to be screened this spring, but it was postponed until November. Until then Until, how should they appeal to movie fans? Therefore, Japanese cinema company TOHO Cinemas decided to exhibit it at Virtual Market 4, the world's largest VR creative festival.

Virtual Market is a creative festival in the VR world sponsored by Japanese VR startup HIKKY. 43 companies and 1400 general creators are exhibiting, and various virtual goods made by them are on sale. It's like a real trade show, but because it's a virtual world, the venues are ornately decorated. It's the 4th time this time, and last time there were 710,000 visitors.

TOHO Cinemas will exhibit a booth that recreates their Roppongi Hills theater at this event. They will show the Black Widow trailer and provide free wallpaper images of limited edition, US poster wallpaper images, and US poster images of Marvel Studios movies so far.
In addition, a popular voice actor who is the main cast of the Internet movie show will appear there as an avatar and interact with the visitors.

Virtual Market 4 will be held on VRChat from April 29 to May 10. Please check this URL for how to participate.



World's first VTuber Kizuna AI has her own management company

Activ8, a startup that produces and manages virtual artists, announced that they will spin-off their popular virtual artist Kizuna AI. By doing so, they hope to boost her momentum and tackle even greater challenges.

Kizuna AI is the world's first virtual YouTuber. She opened her YouTube channel "AIChannel" in 2016 and started her activities. Fans of this channel have now surpassed 2.7 million. Since 2018, she has also started working as a singer, releasing songs and appearing at festivals.

riginally she was one of the VTubers belonging to Activ8, but her popularity now extends beyond Japan to all over the world. So, they decided to spin off the Project A.I. team, which has been in charge of her production, to make it independent.

On the other hand, they are aiming to create opportunities for virtual artists by further strengthening the xR content business including Spectacle, a VR live show system that will be released in the future.


Japanese VTuber Productions will expand into the English-speaking world

Japanese virtual performer startup COVER holds an audition to choose VTuber that can play active part in the English-speaking world in their VTuber production hololive production. With this, they aim for VTuber production that can gain popularity in the global market.

The hololive production is home to a large number of virtual performers who use their system to post videos and perform live streaming.

English version of their official Twitter account

The application condition for this audition is that you are an English speaker, over 18 years old, and regardless of gender. If you adopted, you can get cute avatars designed by popular illustrators. In addition, the gadgets needed for your performer activities are also supported.

The audition details page is here.

Let's transform into Amabie, a youkai who dispels infectious diseases with AR!

KAYAC, a Japanese content creative agency, has released the Snap Camera effect of Amabie, a youkai who is said to dispel infectious diseases. You can transform into him/her for free.

Amabie is a youkai who appeared in the sea in Kumamoto Prefecture during the Edo period.
In the form of a mermaid with long hair, beak and three-tailed tail, he/she told witnesses to show people his/her pictures during an epidemic.
Although he/she was not a famous youkai, but Japanese netizens who hoped for the end of the coronavirus pandemic from around the beginning of March have posted various illustrations on social networking services.

See also:
Japanese monster goes viral on hopes for end to coronavirus pandemic (The Japan Times)

You can use this Amabie effect with Snap Camera, a free PC desktop app. When you open or close your mouth, the Amabie's beak opens and closes accordingly. Also, when you shake your body to the left or right, Amabie's hair moves softly. Let's pray that the coronavirus pandemic will end as soon as possible by transforming into Amabie at a video meeting! Search "AmabieMask" from Search Lenses of Snap Camera.


The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Shows Sakura With Mobile VR Apps

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun(日本経済新聞: Japan Economics Newspaper) has released mobile VR application Nikkei VR. Download is free(iOS/Android).

However, they have not yet reported economic news in 360-degree video or photos. Mostly they deliver art works and travel landscapes. In particular, they are currently focusing on "NIKKEI STAY HOME PROJECT -A cherry blossom viewing on smartphones all over Japan", which reports on sakura(cherry blossoms) in full bloom in VR.

Sakura is a Japanese spring tradition, but this year we cannot see the sakura due to the coronavirus pandemic. So they show sakura taken at more than 20 places all over Japan in this app. The release is in line with the actual blooming of sakura, and the shooting locations of sakura will increase with each passing day. Let's enjoy sakura viewing at home with this app!


Disinfect masks and smartphones with UV light

Nowadays, disposable masks are becoming scarce around the world, and many people are hand making cloth masks. But it must be disinfected firmly.
Gadget maker MATECH started accepting pre-orders AirCase, which can disinfect masks and smartphones with UV light and ozone(O3) in Amazon.co.jp on April 9, and the number of reservations exceeded 1,000 in two days.

AirCase is a gadget that disinfects mask, smartphone and other things inside the case with the UV and ozone effects. UV rays used the wavelength of UV-C, which is said to have the most bactericidal effect, and with ozone, which is not affected by obstacles, to further enhance the germicidal effect.

If you drop a few drops of aroma oil into the aroma hole in the case, it will spread in the case and make the things have a good scent. Especially, it is recommended to use it when disinfecting masks and handkerchiefs.
In addition, it also functions as a wireless charger, supports 10W, 7.5W, 5W, so you can fast-charge your smartphone and disinfect it. The price of this is 4,980 yen including tax, it will be shipped from May 20, but if you pre-order it, you will get a 5% discount.

via https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B086RS1NG1


Checking congestion before going out

In large cities in Japan, local governments have issued requests to refrain from going out to citizens, but it is impossible to stop them completely. You have to go shopping for food and daily necessities, and you may have to go to a hospital or dental clinic suddenly.
Then, Yahoo! Japan has re-released the crowd radar function to visualize the degree of congestion in each area on their mobile map application "Yahoo! MAP" and its web version.

They closed this feature on January 31, but re-released it with more features due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The new congestion radar calculates the congestion status from 2 hoursago to 26 hours ago based on the data of users who allow the use of location information in the applications provided by Yahoo! JAPAN indicate. The degree of congestion is indicated by colors on a heat map in stages. By moving the slider at the bottom of the screen, you can check the congestion at each time period from 2 hours ago to 26 hours ago. And when you tap the play button, the transition of congestion status is shown by animation.

If you have to go out due to unavoidable circumstances, you can use this to understand the tendency of congestion around the destination area or stations, and you will be able to avoid congestion and act more easily.
Yahoo! MAP application version is free to download(iOS/Android).

Eliminate exercise shortage using the application

The spread of the coronavirus has increased the number of business people who work remotely at home, but they tend to cause lack of exercise.
So, a fitness mobile application BeatFit proposes fitness that can be done at home.

BeatFit is an application that personal trainers along with popular songs and teach you fitness by voice. It has 11 genres such as walking, running, aerobics and yoga and more than 600 classes, and you can choose from them. If you are not sure which class to choose, AI will recommend the class based on your user information, purpose and mood. These are the part of special features for remote workers released this time. "Start your day comfortably with morning fitness!", "Recommend walking after meal", "100 times squat challenge". All of them can be easily challenged between work, and you can enjoy fitness in 5 minutes. In addition, it is linked to Apple Healthcare, which allows you to record fitness data daily.
Downloading the application and using it for 30 days is free(iOS/Android), after which the subscription costs 9800 yen per year.