I found a lot to like about Embodied's Moxie robot, a companion that can help kids play and learn. It had fluid animation and some genuinely interesting conversational technology. But it also cost $1,500, along with a $40 to $60 monthly service subscription after the first year. For most parents, that just doesn't compute! But what about a less excessive $149 monthly rental fee? That's certainly more accessible up front, and it also covers the company's content subscription fee.
For most consumers, renting a Moxie is probably a better bet too. You don't want to pay a ton of money for hardware that could be obsolete if the company goes kaput (looking at you, Jibo). Pricing will always be the biggest barrier for every robot. But if they actually want to get these things into homes, robotics companies will definitely have to think harder about ways to make their gear more affordable.