Have the curtains been drawn on what was once a promise of a high tech future?

From providing directions to customers at stores to literally serving the bird, Pepper, a domestic robot created by Japanese cellular service powerhouse Softbank, has worn many different hats in its lifetime of service. However, it seems despite the miscellany of roles our well-regarded robot has taken, SoftBank has already halted production of future units from June 28.

▼ One of the first videos introducing Pepper to the English-speaking world:

Standing at approximately 121 centimeters (48 inches) and weighing around 30 kilograms (66 pounds), Pepper is a robot with a minimalistic but impressionable design. It comes with a touchscreen attached to its chest, five movable fingers, and even lighting for its eyes to express its current mood. While Softbank focused on advertising Pepper’s novelty as well as technological prowess, especially as a customer service aid in stores, the world has reacted lukewarmly to Pepper with only 21,000 units sold since Pepper’s debut in 2014.

▼ Despite Pepper’s emotional multitudes, I suppose “munchie mood” never caught on with anyone.

There’s been no specific statement released as to why Pepper didn’t sell well, though we can gander a guess based off the exorbitant amount of money it costs to own a Pepper. After all, folks aren’t just paying for the unit itself, which is around 198,000 yen (US$1,780), but are also charged monthly fees for special software to operate the robot and insurance. Based off SoftBank’s official website, it can cost companies a whooping 295,200 yen per year to run a single Pepper unit. And of course, the robot can’t exactly compete with the human touch of customer service, despite experimental efforts.

▼ Maybe it’s time for Pepper to change gears and work as an at-home companion robot?

It’s unknown when production will kick back up again, but if Softbank needs ideas as to where to pitch future Pepper robots, local sport stadiums might be a great place to start.

Source: Kyodo News via Yahoo! Japan via Hachima Kiko, Softbank
Top image: Wikimedia/Alex Knight
Insert image: Wikimedia/Benoît Prieur
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