SEOUL — A video showing a virtual entrance ceremony at a South Korean university held in conjunction with K-pop girl group aespa is gaining popularity on YouTube, surpassing 10 million views. Many overseas fans complimented the group’s special performance in the video where various facilities including the school gate and street were updated into a metaverse world.
Soonchunhyang University, based in Asan, about 85 kilometers (52 miles) south of Seoul, broke the boundary between offline and virtual worlds by holding a virtual ceremony amid a coronavirus pandemic in February 2022. aespa welcomed new students with their special performance.
In March 2021, the university held South Korea’s first non-face-to-face entrance ceremony. Freshmen could have special experiences such as meeting professors, colleagues, and seniors using avatars. The university distributed welcome kits including VR headsets, quarantine kits and USB drives in advance.
aespa is a four-member girl group launched by entertainment powerhouse SM Entertainment in 2020. Each member has their own avatar. Many other K-pop celebrities have been recreated in the virtual world. Nexon GT, a domestic game publisher, allowed users to purchase game characters based on real-life celebrities such as IU and Seolhyun in its first-person shooter called “Sudden Attack”.
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