Facial-rigging tech firm hyprsense has announced that it's been acquired by Epic Games, potentially providing some serious competition for FaceRig and shaking up the world of Hololive and Vtubers.
If you're unfamiliar with face rigging, the idea behind the tech is pretty simple: a camera tracks certain points on your face such as your mouth, your nose, and your eyebrows. Facial recognition technology interprets the movement of your face and then "rigs" it to a 3D model; this is the same kind of technology behind all of those Instagram filters that make you look like a dog with rainbows coming out of your mouth.
Face rigging is also notable in the gaming world for another reason: Vtubers. Thousands of people — most notably the "Hololive" group — portray virtual characters through the use of tech similar to hyprsense. Most of these people use FaceRig and custom 3D models to make it happen, but a new competitor may soon give these Vtubers some options.
What Does Epic Games' hyprsense Acquisition Mean for Gaming?
Epic Games acquiring hyprsense can change up the gaming world on several fronts. The most obvious (and most likely) change will probably be coming to the Unreal Engine in the future.
"Bringing on the Hyprsense team enables us to continue pushing digital character innovation even further and approach the goal of giving all creators full control over expressing their vision down to the smallest nuance," Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri said in the announcement.
hyprsense will collaborate with Epic Games' development teams and its "digital humans" team headed up by 3Lateral and Cubic Motion. These efforts will first and foremost be used to help Epic Games build better tools for both developers and players.
On the developer front, this likely means that face rigging technology will be improved in the Unreal Engine — simply put, Epic Games can use this tech to give developers more tools for making realistic facial animations or creating unique ways for players to interact with games.
However, another possibility lies in the Vtuber phenomenon. The massive success of Hololive and other Vtubers shows that there's a market out there; a lot of gamers have been playing around with FaceRig on Steam for years. The next few years may soon see a competitor rise in a growing market of virtual entertainers.
What do you think Epic Games' latest acquisition means for the gaming world? When do you think FaceRig will see a genuine competitor? Let us know in the comments below!