If you scroll toward the bottom of Twitch’s homepage, you’ll see a curious carousel: “Probably Artificial, Hopefully Intelligent,” a subsection of livestreams dedicated to and powered by AI. It’s weird, as you’d expect, but tucked in there is something weirder. There’s an AI version of megastar Félix “xQc” Lengyel. And y’all, if this wasn’t AI, it’d be nigh indistinguishable from the real thing.
While you may primarily know xQc as a livestreamer—he’s got nearly 12 million followers on the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform—he also had an illustrious but short esports career, playing the tank role on the Dallas Fuel during the Overwatch League’s inaugural 2017 season. He won the MVP award at that year’s Overwatch World Cup tournament, earning a suspension here and a suspension there for throwing games and making homophobic remarks, ultimately bowing out of OWL entirely before the 2018 season officially got underway. Since then, he’s made quite the career for himself, reportedly becoming one of the richest streamers, as evidenced by the non-exclusive $100 million deal with the Stake.com-funded Kick he signed this past June. Hey, get that bag. I just wasn’t expecting to see an AI try to take his place so soon.
It’s creepy, actually. AI xQc looks like the real thing and uses the same lingo as the real thing, and he mostly plays the indie platformer Only Up!. He almost even sounds like the real thing with one crucial distinction: He articulates much clearer than xQc, who, as a native French speaker, talks with an accent and rather quickly—something he’s acknowledged as a barrier to watching his streams. So, AI xQc is easier to understand as he takes questions from chatters.
One person asked if he’s gay during a July 17 livestream—”I’ve always been into girls, but all love, no hate,” he said—while another wondered if he liked the League of Legends mobile spin-off Wild Rift—”The whole experience is pretty pog,” he replied. Sometimes, the answers are thought-provoking. Other times, it’s just memes. On occasion, his sentences abruptly end as his mouth uncannily flaps open. But either way, it’s giving body-snatched xQc, and that’s unsettling.
It’s unclear who runs the channel. The About section only has a list of rules and consequences, including stipulations against hate speech and personal attacks, but there are no details on who’s behind AI xQc or what tech is involved. It’s “not affiliated with xQc, just a fan,” per the Twitch description. But considering what powered AI Jesus, technology such as the text-to-speech software Play.ht and the chatbot generator ChatGPT4 (or something similar) are likely what make up the backbone of this artificial streamer. This isn’t the first AI xQc, either. There was one earlier in May that blew the real xQc’s mind (primarily because it said the n-word while singing a cover of Eazy-E’s “Boyz-N-The-Hood”). And another one built by the “best gamer in the world” and problematic figurehead Bachir “Athene” Boumaaza that was kinda weird.
Kotaku reached out to xQc for comment.
AI xQc hasn’t been live in about a week now, but it pulled in over 1,500 concurrent viewers the last time it broadcast, garnered tens of thousands of views on its previous streams, and racked up over 8,000 followers. Sure, it’s got a long way to go before it even comes close to the real xQc’s almost 12 million follower count, but if AI xQc keeps putting up numbers like these, it might not be that long before AI really does replace him—and us. A terrifying future, no?