No More LEGO Universe

Posted: February 21st, 2012 under NetDevil, Opinion, Video.

Yeah that was pretty fast. I have known about the pending shut down for months now, it is still hard to believe. After acquiring the development team back in February of 2011, they not only decided to stop production on LEGO Universe in November of 2011, but to shut down the studio entirely ending virtually all jobs in the Colorado satellite. LEGO universe servers were slated to be shut down at the end of January 2012. I think most of my opinions remain the same since I was laid off with roughly half the staff.

Lego Universe: History from Ethan Vincent on Vimeo.

I think I actually made it into one of those wide angle shots.

It is just a sad affair no matter how you look at it. Virtually everyone loved working on this project and brought so much energy to it; I know the employees are all disappointed. You would think that, even if Lego Universe was not the product or didn’t meet the performance goals that they would have kept the servers running or moved the team onto new projects instead of dismissing all of the acquired talent (115 in total). I know many people point their finger at an outdated subscription business model as the reason why it failed. I completely agree with the astute observations of marketer and parent of Lego Universe players, Joe Pulizzi even if Lego Universe was taking a loss or breaking even, it was a direct line to your customers and you completely captured their advertising eyeballs with your brand.

It is very obvious how frustrated and upset the community is over the ending of Lego Universe. Yes there have been satirical comments about how imagination ran out and the Maelstrom won. The Lego message boards were flooded with feelings (links seem to be evaporating after the shutdown :/). Our players tried to organize a petition to keep the game alive, which was unfortunately futile since they shut down the studio too. I heard many stories of children crying over the loss, the same people we had worked so hard to delight and entertain. There was a particularly heart breaking thread salvaged from the forums about how several kids with autism embraced the creative and expressive side of our work.

Perhaps it is just the curse of Gazillion, in recent news they are shutting down another product that started at NetDevil, Fortune Online. There was also a very interesting lawsuit filed against the makers of SuperPoke! Pets, its own players filed a class action lawsuit over that games projected closure in March. There might not be much legal recourse for the fans, but it does feel unjust to have paid for virtual currency or subscriptions then get burned.

It just seems to be the nature of these MMO beasts, Facebook games, and others; whenever there is a server machine to be maintained, the corporations get to decide when to pull the plug. I am sure that I am just nostalgic about my cartridges and disks, but those games can always be played again, it isn’t true for MMOGs. That is the cost of playing with your friends and getting content drops and updates; you don’t really own the game anymore. At some point they will be gone forever.

1 Comment »

  • Comment by Patrick — November 3, 2012 @ 5:53 pm


    I loved playing LEGO Universe and was extremely sad that they closed it down. What part(s) of LEGO Universe did you work on?

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