Why LEGO Universe Failed

LEGO Universe Ninja Tree

Last week, Eurogamer broke the news that LEGO-based MMO LEGO Universe would be shutting down on January 31st, 2012, only 15 months after servers first went live. According to LEGO group executive Jesper Vilstrup, the game was well received and had over 2 million active accounts, but “unfortunately, we have not been able to build a satisfactory revenue model in our target group.”

LEGO Universe strikes me as one of those games that should have worked really well. Most kids in this country played with LEGOs, or at least knew what they are, and they remain some of the most open-ended imagination fodder around. I used to stage battles between a pirate ship and a royal frigate before I discovered I could disassemble them and create a freakin’ bomb-ass Super Mega Ship. This play concept should have benefited immensely from translation into digital form. Sure, the LEGO Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones games are popular, but those only scratch the surface of the Continue reading