Pimping Up Your Avatar

Have you pimped up your avatar lately? If you haven’t, you may be missing out. In its report on social media marketing in China, OgilvyOne Worldwide found that 93 percent of users in China listed “pimp up my avatar” as one of their favorite activities when on social networks. According to the survey, pimping one’s avatar bested other popular activities such as sharing links, playing games and getting RSS feeds.

The OgilvyOne report caught my attention because my son, Douglas, is in the business of bringing avatars to life through facial animation, so I’m somewhat familiar with the phenomenon. I just didn’t realize that it’s such a popular activity in China. It also was a surprise to Doug and other tech-savvy China hands I know.

Doug just finished up a one-month stay in Beijing that he scheduled to explore the potential China market for his company’s products. Doug is the CEO and one of the founders of OC3 Entertainment, a company that specializes in creating the most realistic animations possible using only an audio recording of a human voice. If you can talk into a microphone, you can animate a 3D character with FaceFX technology.

OC3’s main customers today are nearly all of the world’s major game developers and publishers— Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, Ubisoft, Tencent and many others. If you’ve played Gears of War, Assassin’s Creed, Halo, Rock Band, or one of dozens of other triple-A game titles, then you’ve seen FaceFX software in action.

Apart from the fact that China is one of the largest markets for video games, OC3 Entertainment is developing affordable and easy to use versions of its product that will enable web designers, gamers, and casual computer and mobile phone users to bring life to their avatars. As evidenced by the OgilvyOne Worldwide report, the demand in China for the FaceFX product is potentially very large.

To demonstrate how the technology works, and how easy it will be for users to make movies, send animated voice messages to their friends, or link a talking avatar to their tweets, Doug and I created an animated “Mr. China” who will explain how it’s done. Click here to hear what he has to say, or watch the video on YouTube or Youku.

Doug is no stranger to China. He began studying Chinese at Andover, continued at Yale, and came to China every summer while in school. Upon graduating from high school, Doug took a two-week trip across China from Beijing to Urumqi by train — alone and in a hard seat no less.

Doug’s now shown his good judgment by hiring JFP Holdings to help the company expand globally and in China. He and his partners have also asked me to serve on the OC3 board, and our company will become a shareholder. Although OC3 has been self funded to date, the company will be inviting new investors to help fund its expansion into the retail space.

All clients are important, but needless to say, OC3 has special importance. Any ideas from MTD readers would be most welcome.

One Response to “Pimping Up Your Avatar”

  1. The opportunity for efficiencies in training is exciting with OC3s tech. Any chance they’re working with SRI International on their augmented reality systems: http://goo.gl/cez25 ?