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Gatebox Coming to the West After Being “Westernized,” Removing Waifus and Hologram Projection

Gatebox have attracted some attention online, with a recent article about them coming to the west… After being “Westernized.”

For those unfamiliar with our prior coverage, Gatebox creates a “holographic” virtual home assistant akin to Alexa, interacting with lights, TV, Roombas, and more, all by voice command and texts. It usually projects the image of a female anime character, complete with voice acting [1234]. It will even recognize their user’s face.

Engadget reported (and Tweeted) Keyshare Innovation Group have partnered with New Zealand (the company behind Gatebox) to “essentially rebuild Gatebox’s AI assistant from the ground up.” While you may suspect at best the device would need subtitles or an English dub, the changes are far more drastic.

In addition to the projection and mirror giving the illusion of a 3D image now being a flat tablet screen inside half a tube, (though still keeping the motion sensors and cameras), the avatars are now realistic human men and women.

In Engadget’s accompanying video from CES 2020 (and Tweet), Chris Velazco (Engadget’s Senior Editor and author of the article) explains the reason for the change is to make it more “palatable” to western customers.

“It’s a holographic anime girl who serves as some sort of personal companion. You can ask her questions, you can have conversations with her, it does sort of feel like more of an emotional kind of virtual assistant than a practical one. But, there she is.

[…] What’s really interesting is that an American company has actually decided, you know what, let’s take this idea and make it palatable to the Western world, because millennials love anime, but not everyone is gonna shell out $1,500 for a girl in a tube that always speaks Japanese.

Now as far as we’ve been able to gather, an American company in conjunction with New Zealand developers worked on Hikari here [the 3D model in the Gatebox], and basically stripped out all the innate cultural Japanese-ness, and replaced it with a system that feels more palatable to Western customers.”

Velazco further explains that the westernized device may soon be heading to an unnamed cruise-line to act as a 24/7 concierges within “the next couple of months.” He also proposes it could be used in gyms to check people in and help with exercise routines.

Valazco himself even admits the device “doesn’t look as good.” It does beg the question why even keep the tube-like design if you only want the cameras and facial recognition? Engadget reports the device is already a little smaller, so there seems to be some flexibility in how the device can be shaped- especially if it only uses a flat screen.

Keeping the device as-is, and using the likeness of celebrities (or even characters from western cartoons and video games) would seem to be a no-brainier. Actor Samuel L. Jackson has already lent his voice to Alexa– combining that with a stylized 3D model could be within reason.

Anime fans on Twitter have had scathing reactions to the news [1, 2]. Some are frustrated that the device is being “ruined” and sold to another audience, rather than becoming more available to them. Others are concerned that a company’s first thought when purchasing technology from another country, would be to remove anything from that culture.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!

Image: Engadget, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (via PNG Guru)

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About

Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.



22 comments
  1. Ali Akhun
    Ali Akhun
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    just TRANSLATE IT MOTHERFUCKER i’m not gonna shell out $1,500 for a fallout looking girl, no thanks

    Reply
  2. Stan Satanson
    Stan Satanson
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    IT JUST NEEDED SUBTITLES

    Reply
  3. B Unit
    B Unit
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Yeah apparently westerners hate escapism, so here is some naggy ass looking Karen so you can be annoyed wherever you are.

    Reply
  4. Moravuscz
    Moravuscz
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Well I guess it’s a good time to import it from Japan as the import tax is now nonexistent between EU and JP 😀

    Couldn’t they have just, I dunno, make both versions? A translated weeb version as well as a more normiefied version? Perhaps even in one product, just give us the choice… Don’t just “take the concept, but throw everything out the window and redo it as we like it”

    Reply
  5. ExplodingPrinny
    ExplodingPrinny
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    How to ruin a product in one easy step, dood.

    Reply
  6. Shodan
    Shodan
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    “not everyone is gonna shell out $1,500 for a girl in a tube that always speaks Japanese.”

    And even less people will shell out that much money for a digital Anita Sarkeesian in a bottle.

    Reply
  7. nine_ball
    nine_ball
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    What the fuck is even the point anymore? You wouldn’t even need to hire new voice actors if it displayed subs or if you just got the same seiyuu for an English dub. Believe me, I WANT the bad Engrish.

    Reply
  8. JustPassBy
    JustPassBy
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    The female one looks like anita….

    Bruh.

    Reply
  9. Jorge Tavani
    Jorge Tavani
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Fucking muricunts

    Reply
  10. Mr.SkilZ
    Mr.SkilZ
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    The only device weebs are willing to settle on to let the glow in the darks spy on us and they managed to fuck that up too.
    Damn. Way to drop the ball.

    “Westernized” A.K.A corporatized and devoid of any semblance of soul or joy.

    Reply
  11. Ebicentre
    Ebicentre
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    If you call yourself a weeb and buy this unironically, guess who’s getting thrown off a cliff.

    Reply
  12. Silfr Fil Godreon
    Silfr Fil Godreon
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    … Then what the fuck is the point? When single men bought this in Japan, they wanted a warm, soothing presence combined with eye candy to come back to, not a reminder of the harpies they probably endure on a daily basis.

    Reply
  13. Razu Draws
    Razu Draws
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Another example of companies “changing products for the sake of its consumers”.
    I hate it when those rich ass bastards think that they know what we want and should buy.

    Reply
  14. TNinja
    TNinja
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Good lord, just make your own product if you’re not even gonna use the actual tech.

    Reply
  15. Musou Tensei the Unchangeable
    Musou Tensei the Unchangeable
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Japan: Here is a cute anime girl holograph.
    The West: Here is a tablet in a tube running an app with ugly characters.
    The typical gaijin bullshit, I hope they go broke.

    Reply
  16. Cats739
    Cats739
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    “Westerners are interested in a product we’ve been heavily advertising with anime themes? Let’s release it over there and remove everything that made it interesting.”

    Corporate Japan doesn’t understand the West.

    Reply
  17. zedocax
    zedocax
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    “not everyone is gonna shell out $1,500 for a girl in a tube that always speaks Japanese.”
    first of all weebs totally would
    second of all do they really think people would shell out money for a fucking sims character?

    Reply
  18. Hama
    Hama
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    They ruined it

    Reply
  19. Jeremy Kuntzman
    Jeremy Kuntzman
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    So they take a product o would actually buy if it was the Japanese version with English and make it something I would never buy. I want the anime girls, the whole reason for this product is to escape reality. Not have a Karen that has no appeal.

    Reply
  20. McFucksauce
    McFucksauce
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    i want my waifu back im not paying 1500 bucks for some middle aged bald cunt or some anita sarkeesian looking ass motherfucker

    Reply
  21. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    So for their telescreen spying device they decided to replace a cutesy girl giving you positive vibes and cheering you on with some dude bro and Ms “I want to see the manager”. I guess the Japanese have a very bleak view of the West and they are not entirely wrong.

    A simple solution is to leave the option there for the original, but we know that’s not how these “localisations” work.

    Reply