NOV. 1, 2011 • The Lego Group announced that its Lego Universe MMO would be shut down on Jan. 31. Any paid subscribers still in the game by Dec. 31 will get their final month of enhanced service free of charge. The reason given for the decision was that the online world game based on Lego’s brick building toys did not attract sufficient users.
Impact: Lego Universe is a product that would seem to have great potential as a free-to-play game. However, it was designed as a monthly subscription MMO and it is more challenging than most realize to change business models after launch. This is especially true when you are a company like Lego whose core competency does not lie in online game development. It seems to be a basic business decision to shut the product down rather than go through the expense and challenge of retooling it for changing market conditions.