LEGO Universe Is Closing… Now What?

Sorry I haven’t posted lately, haven’t had time. I have a draft almost fully written, I just have to finish it.

As most Lego fans have heard (and if they haven’t, then they will soon), LEGO Universe is closing it doors. It will shut down on January 31, 2011, and no more game time can’t be bought or redeemed after December 31, 2011. The official statement explaining the shut down?

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. (http://aboutus.lego.com/en-US/pressroom/Default.aspx?y=276303&l=200071&n=0)

In other words, the entire Free-to-play section shut it down. LEGO Universe has almost 2 million players, but according to Flambridge (a well known Adult Fan Of LEGO), only about 100,000 of those players were paying players.

On the Lunibook forums, Flambridge posted about a conversation that he had with Figmentia (Figgy), along with a short chat with PrimusFigius, the only moderator left at the LU section of the LMBs. If you want to read the post yourself, here is the link:

http://lunibook.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=817

I will just sum it up here.

First, Figgy is very sad that LU is over. She loved the community, and she hates what happened. The day of the announcement, she had to attend a staff  meeting. The meeting was only 10 minutes. When it was over, she rushed to her computer… and nothing worked. Her Macro codes did not work, email was shut down, and cell phones would not turn on. Her job was over in 10 short minutes. On top of that, the story that broke the news of LU’s closing was signed in her name, and she did not write it.

As for PrimusFigius, Flambridge was able to contact him on Skype. He asked about the Nexus Force Championship, the winners of some of the events already, and what TLG will do to keep players around for three months. PrimeFigius doesn’t know anything. He is still waiting for answers too, and has no idea for the next three months.

As for the title of this post, now what? I will share my opinion on it.

First, about those new worlds (Fire Temple, a greener world), and the build improvements, they will not be coming. I have heard that all the devs have already been fired. If the Fire Temple was already finished before this, TLG might release it, but I am sure it would be buggy, and LEGO would have to bring back the devs to fix it. That would cost them more money, and would hasten the closure of LU.

Second, as much as I want LU to be revived by fans, I think it will not happen. Figgy has said that open source will not happen, and Flambridge is still under a NDA, so if TLG decides to bring the game back, I’m sure they would want to use whatever they had planned. A well-known LU hacker has started a project to recreate LU, but he as said himself that we will not be able to create new stuff. He says that LEGO created their owns game files, and since they created it, only they would know how to re-create it (at least in theory). On top of that, the legality of it is questionable. If it can be done, TLG could sue whoever did it on copyright infringement and stolen property. And if somehow someone was able to buy the rights to the game, they could not call it LEGO anymore. And LEGO could still sue them on the count of copyright infringement. Every LEGO.com page says

LEGO, the LEGO logo, DUPLO, BIONICLE, MINDSTORMS,
 the BELVILLE, KNIGHTS’ KINGDOM and EXO-FORCE logos,
the Brick and Knob configurations and the Minifigure
 are trademarks of the LEGO Group.
© 2011 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved.

for a reason.

Third, I think LEGO will honor the winners of the NFC contest. It has been said in Beta that there was a delay in the contest prizes, but they still gave it to us. I  think LEGO will give the winners their prizes, if not for anything else, to not hurt their image anymore.

Supersoradude posted this on Twitter:

“Our decision to end LEGO Universe is similar to decisions we also make with LEGO Product collection, where favourite sets come and go to make space for new sets. It was time for LEGO Universe to end and hopefully new digital LEGO experiences will come in the future.”

Look. Offline games are nothing like online games. Online games are nothing like toys.

The more I consider the fact that LEGO could technically cover MUCH better advertising and ways of getting the word out, the more I get really disappointed.  (http://www.tweetdeck.com/twitter/Supersoradude/~rte2A)

I agree with him. I do not know where he got that quote, but it sure seems like LEGO is treating this like a toy line.

And as for all the blogs, forums, databases, and YouTube channels that came to be because of LU, I think most of them will be abandoned. Maybe a few will be deleted, and a few will  be re-branded. But a lot will go away.

That’s my take on this. Agree with me? Don’t agree with me? Leave me a comment.

-le717

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