South Korean game maker NCSoft launched its K-pop entertainment platform Universe in 134 countries on Thursday.
The all-in-one platform allows users to access exclusive content such as music videos, entertainment shows K-pop groups appear on and celebrity photos, while also allowing artists and fans to interact. Fans can also share their creations on the platform.
One of the platform’s most noticeable features is a private messaging and call function powered by artificial intelligence technology. The AI system replicates the voice of artists, enabling fans to have phone conversations with their favorite idols in AI form.
K-pop artists on the platform include IZ*ONE, Kang Daniel, Monsta X, AB6IX, (G)I-dle, Cosmic Girls, CIX, The Boyz and Astro, among others.
Over 4 million K-pop fans have preregistered for the app since last November, attesting to the global popularity of the music genre.
On Thursday, millions of fans overwhelmed the app’s server, requiring NCSoft to conduct emergency maintenance for over an hour in the afternoon.
After the servers went back online, it released IZ*ONE’s new music video for their song “D-D-Dance,” the first music track to premiere on the platform.
NCSoft will also host an online live concert “Uni-kon” on Feb. 14 that incorporates virtual reality.
Meanwhile, Big Hit Entertainment and Naver announced on Wednesday that they would merge their K-pop platforms, V Live and Weverse, to make way for a mega global fan community platform.
The process is expected to take around a year to complete. Naver announced it was investing 411.8 billion won ($367 million) in Big Hit’s subsidiary beNX that runs Weverse and that it would acquire 49 percent of beNX’s shares.
Big Hit also announced an investment deal with YG Entertainment’s YG Plus on Wednesday with an aim of bringing YG-managed global artists like Blackpink to the platform as well.
By Lim Jang-won (firstname.lastname@example.org