Lego and Nintendo are two of the most popular brands not just for children, but also for adults. Therefore rumors the two companies were partnering led to a great deal of excitement among older fans on the Internet. However, the initial Lego Nintendo partnership reveal was underwhelming.
The Lego Group release announced plans to launch interactive Lego sets based on Super Mario. They described these sets as neither a video game nor a traditional Lego brick-based set. The full release can not put into context without watching the accompanying YouTube video.
Basically this a small Lego set designed to resemble a basic level of Super Mario. The interactive part comes from some sort of digital coin collecting mechanism.
Clearly this product is designed for young children, probably between 5 to 8. The Lego fans at DFC run a broad spectrum of ages, but the reaction across the board was disappointment.
Really it should not come as a big surprise. These are two extremely conservative companies. For years, Lego resisted licensing IP. That only changed 20 years ago with with the success of the licensed Lego Star Wars product line. The Star Wars sets along with Harry Potter sets (timed with the movies) helped save Lego from oblivion. Today Lego does all kinds of licenses.
Nintendo still remains extremely cautious about licensing its IP for these type of products. For Nintendo, the initial set is a fairly low risk method of merchandising. Fans were expecting to see much more, such as full Mario and Zelda Lego sets. That may occur but it is looking unlikely. Clearly the challenges of a conservative company in Japan partnering with a similar company across the world in Denmark put a limit on what is feasible.
If the initial product is a success, of course we may expect to see more. However, even with the young target demographic, we expect performance to be weak. The limited video makes the set look less exciting than either an actual Super Mario game or a full Lego set. Of course, price will play a major factor. Price has not been announced but our current expectation is this will be a high priced set for the value.