LEGO Universe Game and Studio Closing in January 2012

Posted Fri, Nov 04, 2011 by Martuk

Sad news begins November for LEGO fans. The LEGO Group today announced that LEGO Universe will shut down on January 31st, 2012. According to the press release, player feedback has been very positive, but since the game went free-to-play in August, there has been a problem with getting enough players to convert to subscriptions and given that the game doesn't support microtransactions, you can see the problem.

As part of the closure, Play Well Studios will be shut down and the LEGO Universe marketing staff will no longer be needed. This will affect 115 employees, which may find work with the LEGO Group or end up out of a job.

As always, our best wishes go out to those that might be affected.

A Closing FAQ is available on the LEGO forums with additional information and subscription reimbursement details.

LEGO® Universe to close in 2012

Online game will close on January 31, 2012. The LEGO Group’s digital offerings will continue to develop over the coming years.

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 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 only MMO I've ever wanted pay a monthly subscription for and I never got the chance because it never launched in Australia even after it went FTP

I heard a long time ago that there was a LEGO MMO in development and haven't heard anything about it since until this article. I've never seen any advertisements nor heard that it actually released or went free to play afterwards until just now with this article.

Kinda sad to be honest. My son plays this game and I have to admit it's a nice game. I think it captures a lot of the Lego theme experience but sadly it was a little short sided and tried to be an MMO instead of a Lego adventure. One thing I noticed is a complete lack of drivable vehicles. They really should have implemented that. Boats that you could customize, cars, planes.. a world where you could show off your digital Lego creations. Maybe a store where you could by special Lego items for .99 cents to keep cash trickling in from the free to play folks.

All in all it's a sharp, well made game with great graphics and solid/fun Lego physics. It never really had time to turn into a true Lego adventure. Good thing our imaginations and real Lego's arn't going anywhere. Time to go build those adventure's I was talking about.

I really enjoyed playing LEGO Universe. They made a great world for it. Sad to see it go.

Right, dBeeble. They shut out all of Asia and wonder why so few are playing? Not to mention: free to play - microtransactions = sudden death. Again, doesn't that seem obvious?

Our world made it through alright, but a number of game worlds came to an end in 2012. Did the ancient Mayans foresee these events?
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LEGO Universe completely redesigned its gameplay when they went free-to-play. Ten Ton Hammer talked with Design Director, Jordan Itkowitz, about the new progression system, faction kits, future content, and staying microtransaction-free.
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