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LEGO Universe disappears in a black hole…


You may have heard by now the LEGO Group’s recent announcement that it will close LEGO Universe early next year. This has been quite an unexpected move and a shock to many LEGO fans who followed the development of this project. Here is the announcement on the LEGO Universe site:

Hello Adventurers,

We are very sad to announce that LEGO Universe will be closing on Janurary 31, 2012. This was a very difficult decision to make, but unfortunately LEGO Universe has not been able to attract the number of members needed to keep the game open.

We are thankful to have had the opportunity to share this adventure with an amazing community of players. We hope you will continue to enjoy LEGO Universe for the last few months. As a thank you, if you are a paying subscriber on December 31, 2011, we will provide you the full game for the final month for free. Click here for the details.

Again, we want to thank the fantastic community of players who made LEGO Universe such a vibrant, fun and creative experience.

(You can discuss this article on the message boards)


The LEGO Universe Team

And here is the official press-release, basically saying the same thing but in more (painful) detail:

November 4, 2011 – The LEGO Group today announced that it will close LEGO Universe, an MMOG (massively-multiplayer online game) that has been in operation since the autumn of 2010.

In spite of very positive player feedback and a large number of players in the free play zone, it has not been possible to convert a satisfactory number of players to paying subscribers. It has therefore been decided to close the game as of January 31, 2012.

“The LEGO Universe team can take pride in having developed and launched a great LEGO experience that many players will miss,” said Jesper Vilstrup, Vice President, LEGO Universe. “Right now, we have almost 2 million players in LEGO Universe, and we get extremely positive feedback from players. Unfortunately, we have not been able to build a satisfactory revenue model in our target group, and therefore, have decided to close the game.”

Despite the change, the ambition to develop and run a digital business remains. In future, it is the intention to further pursue cooperation with partners. The LEGO Group has a strong and continuing partnership with TT Games & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to create digital LEGO experiences within video games. A further expansion in the digital area will mainly be based on similar partnerships.

“The development of our digital offerings continues to be a very important element in our strategy,” said Mads Nipper, Executive Vice President, LEGO Group. “We have more than 20 million visitors on www.LEGO.com every month, and LEGO video games are among the bestselling children’s video games with sales of more than 60 million units in the last five years. Through our experience developing and running LEGO Universe, we have gained a lot of valuable insights, and we have a very strong foundation for future development in the digital area.”

As a consequence of the closure, the LEGO Universe staff has today been informed that the ‘Play Well Studios’ in Louisville, Colorado and the game’s marketing function in Billund, Denmark will be closed. This will affect 115 employees. All affected employees will be offered assistance in finding new jobs inside or outside the LEGO Group.

The sad part is that many LEGO fans have seen this coming. The initial high price and monthly membership fees were a really bad marketing plot. And although recently LEGO opened up the LEGO Universe free-play zone, it was too late too save the project.  🙁

In addition the game was targeting LEGO fans, most of whom prefer to play with real LEGO bricks. MMOG-type games require great dedication and investment of time and are usually played by hard-core nerds (no offense intended). LEGO fans are just not the right crowd for these types of games. 😐

It is also terrible how many LEGO Universe developers and staff are loosing their jobs over this. My heart goes out to them and hope they will find other employment soon…

What do you think of all of this? Did you play LEGO Universe? How do you feel about the announcement? Or if you didn’t play the game, why not? What do you think is the reason for the failure of LEGO Universe? 😕

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • YTjedi November 14, 2011, 3:21 PM

    I played the Free Zone version of LEGO Universe when it became available. After a couple of hours I found myself basically reaching the end story-wise of how far I could go, and the tasks leading up to that point to be very tedious. I think a better approach to this would’ve been offering physical connections to the virtual world. They should’ve released small sets or figures related to the game that came with a feature code to unlock exclusive in game content. This way, fans of real bricks could buy the sets and get cool LEGO Universe minifigs, and fans of the virtual experience could have a way to augment or enhance their virtual experience.

    • admin November 14, 2011, 4:17 PM

      Excellent points, YTjedi! I don’t know if there is any hope of saving the game, but this would have been a great approach; a win-win for both fans of the Game and fans of real sets! In facto most likely, more people would have tried out the game after seeing the real sets. Anyhow, it seems to be too late. 🙁

  • toy November 14, 2011, 6:00 PM

    Why did you have to post about it? I just got over it, and now this!
    (Sorry, i play it.)

    • admin November 14, 2011, 6:23 PM

      Toy, I’m sorry that you are disappointed! A lot of LEGO fans are! Just check out the forum section on the LEGO Universe website! (Link in post.) You will hear from some very upset kids and outraged parents. It is really sad… 😥

      • toy November 14, 2011, 6:50 PM

        I check there a lot

  • Quad November 15, 2011, 1:38 PM

    Well, that’s a bummer. Mostly because I know how excited Lego was about this, saying how it would be one of the largest MMOG and stuff. 🙁 And I could never get the free play zone working on my computer. 🙁

  • Dohed40 November 15, 2011, 2:20 PM

    The REAL reason its closing, is because LEGO has realized that the worst thing they can do to their bottom line, is encourage people to build and play with virtual bricks, instead of paying the insanely high prices for the real ones. I bet were about to see LEGO completely abandon all their virtual building experiments and put all there affort into promoting sales of the real plastic pieces. Which at the moment has more value than most of the worlds major currencies. This whole “not enough subs” thing is just to take the emphasis off the the fact, that theyre not really all about encouraging imagination and creativity, and more concerned with moving product and pleasing shareholders. Ive tried to say this on the LEGO message boards but they wont let it through, eventhough there letting through all kinds of other theories and even insults. As usual, the thing that no one wants to discuss, is usually the truth.

    • admin November 15, 2011, 2:34 PM

      Yes, I have been saying for a long time that investing in LEGO is in fact better than investing in any stocks, bonds, commodities or currencies. It has been consistently outperforming most investments, and it is also safe – a rare combination. 😀

      Historically LEGO has always done best when sticking to what it knows best; real bricks. Every time it ventured out of that arena it got itself in trouble. As far as shareholders, please note that LEGO is a privately held company. So besides the money it makes to the family there are no shareholders to please. Thankfully. 🙄

      Personnally, I’m glad LEGO keeps going back to basic bricks as their core foundation. There are plenty of video games to dull the minds of today’s children and adults. There is no need for more. But that’s just my opinion. 😉

      • YTjedi November 15, 2011, 2:58 PM

        Growing up I remember having time limits on how long I could play video games during the day, even during the summer. In contrast to that though, I have wonderful memories of staying in my room building with LEGO all day long. My brother and I would even make video game characters out of LEGO so that we could continue their adventures off screen, expanding their stories with our own imaginations. It was some of the best fun in life growing up.

        • admin November 15, 2011, 9:58 PM

          I can definitely relate to that! Nothing like playing all day with LEGO! Especially on a cold or rainy day! 😀

      • Dohed40 November 16, 2011, 1:41 PM

        I couldnt care less about the game aspect of LU, it was repetetive and fairly mindless. It’s being able to comunicate and interact while building, not only your own creations, but also being able to colaborate with other builders, and share ideas in real time. There is nothing else like it, and it takes “Playin Legos” to a whole new level.
        But,..alas,..theres no money in it.

  • Space(Nightrider) March 12, 2012, 9:33 PM

    I really wish LU could come back… been over a month or so. But, out of all of this, someone told me to look on the message boards, and check out what Ocean Bella posted. It said the LU would most likely come back in June – July 2012. Well, we can just keep our fingers crossed. And when LU closed, at 12:00 AM, it said down for scheduled maintenance, and went to the screen it is now. I can get to the log-in screen, butt can’t log in. You can play LU off-line, but it’s not what it was. No other people, no Nexus Tower, or Ninjago. They might even have the property Culdesac, if any property worlds! No leveling system, Nothing! No moderators, and other people, so you can say anything, but…. what’s the use?! I mean really! It’s all Alpha, Early Beta! Nexus Gate is there, no Nexus Tower… Hope what Ocean Bella said was true… :'( V_V

    • admin March 12, 2012, 9:51 PM

      That is very-very sad… 😥

  • Space(Nightrider) March 12, 2012, 9:35 PM

    Btw, LONG LIVE IMAGINATION, LONG LIVE NEXUS FORCE, LONG LIVE LU!!!!!!!!!!!! (sadly that didn’t happen, but might in the future)

    • admin March 12, 2012, 9:54 PM

      AMEN to that! 😉

  • Tydroid April 9, 2012, 12:30 PM


    It was my favorite game……:(

    • admin April 9, 2012, 7:46 PM

      Tydroid, yeah, it is sad. 🙁

  • nace10 June 7, 2012, 1:13 PM

    The point of buying the game for 40 bucks and then having to pay for mebership after a few months was a VERY bad idea… 😐
    It wasn’t the greatest game, but it was fun… 🙁 😥

    • admin June 7, 2012, 1:20 PM

      Nace, I agree. I don’t think LEGO thought their strategy thru carefully. But this happened before when they tried to get out of their own forte. It is best if they stick with what they know best; LEGO bricks! 😉

      • YTjedi June 7, 2012, 1:43 PM

        I saw this reply and it gave me ideas about talking about how LEGO should’ve released sets that went with the came and had feature codes to unlock content and cool stuff like that, but then I saw I already did say that seven months ago … I can’t believe I’ve been following this blog for that long! Seems like I stumbled upon it only yesterday…

        • admin June 7, 2012, 3:19 PM

          YTjedi, I guess great minds think alike! 😉
          BTW, your very first comment is from 5/28/11. Yeah, long time ago! 🙄

  • anakin7626 June 30, 2012, 2:06 PM

    Lego Universe was an amazing game but, face it guys it is gone and I like you guys want it back but it probably won’t come back. HEY LEGO TELL US THE REAL REASON YOU TOOK AWAY LEGO UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE ALL WANT TO KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • admin June 30, 2012, 10:27 PM

      There is actually a new LEGO MMO game coming. 😉

  • Dude September 19, 2012, 9:24 AM

    Mine is that if you bought a set like umm… epic dragon battle there would be a code inside and you would unlock that as a model for your property.

  • quad November 6, 2012, 8:01 PM

    What are the instructions for the sacred waters of Athena?

    • admin November 7, 2012, 10:37 AM

      Quad, I’m not sure what you mean. It appears that you are in the wrong section of the website. 😕

  • Mystery September 2, 2013, 7:26 PM

    This is not the First time I saw something like this, but, unlike the others, the cause for this one is not because the people maintaining the game doing stupid things, like stop selling prepaid game cards when the game is still far from closing

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