Sweet animated maids will soon be available to dote on those of us desperate for a dose of hospitality — even those living outside Japan!

The service industry has been hit especially hard by the social distancing rules and minimized time indoors brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Maid cafés and host clubs are feeling the loss even more than most services, as close-contact interaction is the entire point of visiting. How is a maid or host supposed to entertain their master or mistress when no customers are allowed to enter the café?

Infinia, a company that runs a popular maid café chain called @Home Cafe in Akihabara and Osaka, has thought up an interesting way to have their plentiful stock of maids make contact with their clients. By using online avatars both for the maids themselves and any interested customers, the maids can quite literally come to you in the safety of cyberspace. What’s more, setting the Virtual @Home Cafe online means that even patrons outside of Japan can sign up to enjoy some kawaii company.

▼ Just three of the many maids Infinia promises to let you meet.

Virtual socializing is undergoing a huge boom, necessitated by the ongoing pandemic, but there have been some concerns regarding how to use online conference tools in hospitality services. To ensure comfort and privacy for both the maids and the customers, both will use a fictionalized 3-D avatar to interact. Infinia promises that you can choose an entirely different identity for yourself if you like, and can customize your birthday, hobbies, appearance, and name at your own discretion.

Another attractive element of the virtual café is how you can use it to have a real conversation with a cute, imaginary girl who looks as though she leapt straight out of a manga or anime series. The virtual maids will be performed by maids who can do many traditional maid café activities such as singing, dancing, and telling cute stories, so you’ll get all the entertainment value you would have from an in-person visit. The only thing they can’t provide is the food!

▼ This shows how the maid might appear on your smart device, though the service is still in development and subject to changes.

Speaking of the maids themselves, Infinia is currently hiring new talent to pick up a headset and work as an online virtual maid. No maid costumes or accessories are needed for this job; all you need is a headset, an Internet connection, and a desire to connect with your clients. The interview and training process is conducted entirely online, so it’s a great way for potential maids all over Japan to pick up a little extra work.

▼ Infinia also promises flexible hours and privacy for its virtual maids.

The proposed system for the Virtual @Home Cafe is a paid service accessed through a browser on the user’s smartphone. Users register an account with the site, choose the specifics for their avatar, and then arrive at their “home” — a virtual mansion. From this hub, they can see the virtual maids who are currently available and can choose one to spend time with. In-game currency can be purchased to present the maids with fun accessories and outfits, or take a commemorative photo with them. Repeat visits will reward the user with elevated status, benefits, and new features, and the added bonus that maids in the app will be more respectful and affectionate.

Infinia expects to open the doors on Virtual @Home Café soon, citing a Summer 2020 planned release date. Maids will be available from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on weekdays and 12:00 p.m to 2:00 a.m. on weekends. Are you tempted? What kind of online escapades would you like to go on with your virtual maid companion? Personally, I’m hoping to chat with a few about coding or their swordsmanship skills.

Source, images: PR Times
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