Unless you are Dickensian, you can’t fail to have noticed the massive appeal of Lego. Yes the small plastic bricks that require an engineering degree to put together unless you are under 12.
To most adults Lego is a toy of their childhood, and a painful thing to stand on in the dark, when checking the little ones are fast asleep. But Lego has become a massive digital franchise too. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman … the convergence between popular culture and the small plastic brick is now on platforms that even the smallest hands can operate. The games are also amazingly well constructed (as you’d expect).
I once did some advertising work for Lego in the 1990s. I have never met a company that had so many exacting standards! This year, I managed to get a key to the beta of Lego Universe – a massive multiplayer online world (and game).
Here is my prediction: Lego Universe will be the virtual world that crosses between user generated content and game, and rips open a whole new meaning to the idea of creation and play. Firstly, even 3 year olds know how to make it, secondly three year olds have been playing the existing games for year (oh, okay maybe 6 year olds). Thirdly, kids who love Moshi Monsters, will love Lego Universe even more – because you can play, and then go an make for real, what you made virtually. Not only that – but Lego has brand appeal and says ‘safe’ to adults who grew up with it. This is a killer edge in the MMO universe, as adding new players, means convincing those struck down by FUD, that this is a fun, educational and safe place to play.
If you want to get kids into using game based learning – the savvy school technical director will be buying up accounts. Lego Universe opens October 26th 2010 – and will, I predict – redefine the landscape of social gaming. I’ve played it, my kids have played it – and it’s awesome.