Movella, a provider of professional motion capture solutions, has launched Obskur, an all-in-one platform that provides virtual streamers (also known as “Vtubers”) with body tracking technology that’s typically reserved for industries like film and game development.
There are two parts to the Obskur platform: a free OBS-like streaming application built using Unreal Engine 5 and a $1,995 “Mocap Box” that provides the actual tracking hardware for controlling a virtual avatar. Inside the box, you’ll find nine upper-body Movella Xsens tracking sensors — a technology that’s been used in animation across movies like The Avengers, Avatar, and Black Panther — alongside a customized pair of “StretchSense” gloves for tracking hand movements.
Vtubing, which involves streaming with a virtual 2D or 3D avatar, is growing in popularity, but it’s still fairly niche compared to traditional on-camera streams. There are many reasons for this, but cost is one of the biggest deterrents; you either need the technical and creative skills to create your own virtual avatar or the cash to pay someone to do it for you. A fully rigged, high-quality model can cost thousands of dollars, and then you need a way to actually control it.
Until fairly recently, the options for this were pretty limited. You could either use camera-based tracking software, which can be affordable but not especially reliable or accurate, or do what notable Vtuber CodeMiko did and drop a mountain of cash to buy a professional motion capture suit. Those can cost tens of thousands of dollars, especially when paired with professional tracking gloves (typically a separate purchase that also costs thousands of dollars) and the proprietary software needed to manage the tracking sensors.
Movella’s Obskur platform aims to address the sizable gap between those options. Everything has been intentionally designed to make Vtubing as easy as possible, even down to the StretchSense gloves from the Mocap Box being machine washable and fingerless to better support gaming during streams. Movella says the Xsense mocap sensors can provide up to 12 hours of battery life for long streaming sessions, which is plenty of time to get those gloves sweaty.
The Obskur app resembles similar streaming applications like OBS for ease of use, giving users a selection of 2D or 3D virtual environments to drop their avatar into and a library of props and effects to incorporate into their streams. The app integrates with existing iPhone or virtual motion capture solutions for facial tracking like Waidayo, and the Obskur Twitch extension allows users to create custom 3D, physics-enabled interactions (like explosions or objects that can be thrown at the avatar) to interact with their audience. If you already own other mocap hardware, then Movella says this can also be integrated with the Obskur streaming app.
It’s hard to fault the way that Movella has entered the Vtubing scene. Sure, $1,995 is still a lot of money, but this is a professional motion tracking product designed for streamers who want a high-end system. Rokoko’s $3,495 Full Performance Capture kit is probably the closest third-party competitor, and that’s an indie-developed project. Sony has similarly entered the Vtubing scene recently with its $449 Mocopi sensors, but those lack finger tracking and only provide around 90 minutes of battery life.
Considering it’s built upon industry-standard equipment that can cost as much as a brand-new car, Movella’s Obskur platform is a bargain that manages to undercut most of the comparable solutions already on the market.