From Analog to Digital: Cosplay

Sean Keum
Sean Keum
Oct 6 · 4 min read

In Stan World, you can customize your virtual avatar to your heart’s desire. Today is truly an age of individualism and diversity, so naturally it’s in our best interest to bring that level of expressive freedom from the real world into the virtual realm. Virtual avatars in Stan World share a lot in common with Cosplay (portmanteau of “costume play”), which is now a significant part of subcultures and fandoms, and fan-centric conventions.

Mystique (X-Men) at San Diego Comic Con 2018

Cosplay can be weird sometimes, but there’s a lot to like about playing dress-up. After all, Cosplay is much like Halloween — with its crazy colors and wacky characters — except that it’s not a once-in-a-year thing; rather, it’s a daily practice, a way of life. So how does the growing popularity of Cosplay connect with the philosophy behind virtual avatars in Stan World?

1. Cosplay generates attention and revenue.

The world of Cosplay is actually much larger than many would think. For example, Comic Con is arguably the biggest annual event for not only comics, pop culture, and entertainment, but also for Cosplayers. This year’s iteration attracted 135,000 attendees (Comic Con attendance has skyrocketed since the turn of the century), and had a regional impact of $149 million in the San Diego area, $88 of which were directly from attendee spending.

Plus it’s no secret that people are willing to spend money on virtual goods. Stan World has the potential to grow the virtual marketplace with cosmetic items that users can create and exchange with others (Note: Stan World also plans to collaborate with popular IP’s in the future).

2. Cosplay is intertwined with VR and AR.

Cosplay Example of LoL Character Akali (Portrayed by Soyeon in K/DA)

Out of the numerous examples of popular IP’s taking advantage of the capabilities of VR and AR, “K/DA — Pop Stars” by League of Legends is perhaps the most exciting. K/DA is branded as a virtual K-pop girl group consisting of Madison Beer, Jaira Burns, and 2 members from (G)I-dle (Soyeon and Miyeon). Released in November 2018, the music video now has 268 million views on Youtube.

The reason behind the popularity? Aside from the exceptional visual and musical production value, each member represented a specific character in the game, like a virtual avatar / Cosplay. Riot Games didn’t stop there, however — the opening ceremony at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship was an actual concert that showcased both the 4 members and their AR counterparts — audience reaction: exceptional.

Cosplay X Gaming X AR X K-pop X Live Concert. What??

Now, if this event isn’t groundbreaking — then I don’t know what is.

3. Cosplay facilitates sociability and personal well-being.

Cosplayers report that dressing-up helped them express themselves and socialize with others. Robin S. Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, explains that “when they wore a costume, they became much more socially outgoing.” Which is surprising, because many Cosplayers identify themselves as introverts; Cosplay enables people to step outside of their comfort zone. For example, dressing up as Batman, a character who overcame the trauma of his parents’ murder to become a hero, can help someone cope with his or her own trauma.

Epic Photo of a Cosplayer Who Has Conquered Trauma

Stan World Learned from Cosplay to Make Lives Better.

In all, there are aspects of Cosplay that are both beneficial to the real world and the virtual realm. First, it has the potential to contribute to market growth in virtual commerce. Second, cosplay is a popular choice for entertainment media, in bridging the 2 worlds. Third, it can help users express their individuality and socialize with others, especially in a virtual setting with limitless freedom.

These characteristics align with much of what Stan World has to offer — a lively virtual marketplace, a connection between the real world and VR, and freedom to express and socialize. So, virtual avatars / Cosplay in Stan World aren’t just a gimmick — they are an integral part of life in social VR. You might ask, “They’re just cosmetics, why emphasize such idleness?” Our answer: “Why not?”

Stan World


Sean Keum

Written by

Sean Keum

Psychologist, Researcher at Stan World

Stan World


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