When I watch CodeMiko, I think a lot about the unreality – though not for the obvious reasons. While Miko is a virtual creation, a punk movement, a digitally captured avatar with the ability to perform her personality, I feel more interested in the nature of her performance; it’s just magnetic and I’m not sure I can describe why.
I could tell you that her streams are a combination of big name interviews, streaming software, and weird chat interactions. I could mention that since its launch last March, Miko’s channel has gathered 640,000 followers and that it now broadcasts to more than 7,000 viewers at any given time. But I̵
Behind CodeMiko is a real human being – whose name is no Miko, but who at first glance prefers to be called Miko – who plays a character referred to as a Technician in the science fiction of the stream. The technician supports Miko’s hardware, and I contacted her the video chat the other day to talk about the character’s attractiveness.
“Miko is an unsuccessful character in the video game. Her dream is that she wants to take part in a video game with a triple A, but she is so worn out and nasty that she failed, ”says the Technician, who is also Miko. “So she started trying to do Twitch streaming instead.” Miko The Technician describes the virtual streamer Miko as a person who fits the classic archetype of the struggling Hollywood actress – someone who just wants to be in a movie, in every movie, except in Miko’s case, it’s literally every game. (Attention, game developers.) “It’s kind of like an NPC,” says Miko (the Technician).
I have to pause here to note that yes, I am profiling a virtual creation – a streamer that, technically speaking, does not exist, at least not in our meat field. Although it is not alone in that it does not exist and creates content nonetheless. By now, you may have heard of Miko’s colleagues, vtubers – “virtual youtubers”, a term that is now fascinating for a hugely popular segment of online artists who use digital dentures to darken their faces and bodies. Miko is not a real vtuber, I don’t think so, because the man behind the whole thing is widely known and regularly shows his face in front of the camera. I am aware that this distinction can be considered hair splitting.
Anyway: at this point, CodeMiko’s reputation is beginning to precede it, at least in Twitch. In the early days, Technician-Miko would do everything, in her words – all the work on design, programming, administration and marketing, which becomes a full-time virtual streamer. “When I did it alone, I had a very strict schedule to sleep around 9pm, wake up at 2am and then work out until around 12pm,” Miko says of those early days. “And 12:30. I’ll broadcast and I’ll broadcast at 5 or 6.” And she did that every day.
Now, however, she has hired a team and her schedule is different. Having thousands of simultaneous stream viewers will change his life, if not necessarily their priorities. Nowadays, Miko’s attention is divided, she says, in a million different ways, and she mostly manages and controls her accounts when she’s not streaming. This, of course, was a consequence of how fast Miko grew in Twitch. “I think I went from about 200 to 10,000 spectators in a few weeks,” she said. The growth comes from a viral tweet posted in late November that featured side-by-side video of streamer Miko and technician Miko. “This kind of tweet went viral and it stimulated me to my first 1,000 viewers,” she says.
And then things started. Her videos began circulating in r / LivestreamFail, which acts as a kind of repository of Twitch’s drama; the bigger streamers would see them there and then attack her, and then she would interview them on her show. It was a virtuous cycle that catapulted Miko into the Twitch star, which is also clear that she has not yet fully processed.
“When I was like 200, 300 spectators, I was like ‘When I hit 1000 spectators, that’s going to be my goal and I’m going to feel so great. And I’ll be like, well, “she says.” But I hit 1,000. And then the next day I hit 2,000. And the next day I hit 3,000. “She tells me that she feels grateful and that yes, that’s great. But barely now, a few months after she was pushed into the spotlight, she seems to come to terms with the idea of being a prominent figure in Twitch.
This makes sense; Nobody explodes this quickly on Twitch. Miko began her streaming career because she was laid off from the animation studio she worked at as soon as she moved to Los Angeles last March – which, as you remember, was also in the early days of the American pandemic. She had to continue paying $ 2,000 a month in rent in Los Angeles, which would not be the case for nearly a year. “And I thought, do you know what would be the best thing to do right now, not try to look for a job,” she says. “Let me leave 20,000 and try to do it on Twitch.”
And that’s exactly what she did. “My suit was about 12 to 13,000. And then I had my computer, my iPhone camera, my helmet, and then my software subscriptions. But subscribing to mocap software is actually also very expensive, ”she says. She put the $ 20,000 investment on her credit card. “I told myself I wouldn’t have a backup. Because if I had a backup, then I would give up, “she said. “If I don’t have a backup, you have to do it.”
Soon the technician will receive a new MOCAP SUIT, which will allow her to PICK whenever she wants. thank goodness
– Miko (@thecodemiko) April 6, 2021
And Miko has. She has built a world around her, filled with charming characters and extremely cut moments. She has been temporarily banned from Twitch several times in the past – which doesn’t seem very stressful when I talk to her, although her livelihood is online each time. As Nathan Grayson reports in CatMiko’s bans so far seem to have been for small slips that violate the letter – if not the spirit – of Twitch’s TOS. (Like the time when she allowed her viewers to pay to send her “D photos,” which were literally pictures of the letter “D” that would appear on her phone. Twitch didn’t seem to find the joke funny. ) “Prohibitions make your IP more interesting,” Miko says, laughing. “[It] gives a little color. ”
Whatever happens, it’s clear that Miko – the streamer or the Technician – is here to stay. And she’s planning new things to chat with, too. “I’m trying to do like GTA Karaoke in Karpool of a crack. I will take the guests, we will drive by car “, she says. “And we will pass through the city, trying to reach our destination, while the chat blocks the way with different things.”
In the chat with her, I get the clear impression that Miko – any Miko you prefer to imagine – has an inexhaustible well of ideas for his channel. It’s like talking to someone at a party in the wee hours of the morning, when the world feels a little tilted, just the right way. It just works, though she says it hides how much effort is put into her channel. The successful performance is about finding what works for the audience, and Miko is dedicated to trying everything that she thinks can make her fans happy.
“I’ll do it and then, if it works, keep it,” she says. “If it doesn’t work, throw it away.”