Well, at least one world is ending in 2012, it seems: the Lego Universe will be shutting down on January 31, 2012. According to their press release, the MMO was well-received and got a lot of good feedback, but there simply weren’t enough paying customers to keep it going.
The Lego Group is still hoping to develop digital offerings and to continue creating things like video games and the Life of George toy/app combination, but it’s sad to see this go. I got the chance to play through a lot of the Lego Universe missions and worlds, and visiting NetDevil Studios last fall was a highlight for both me and my kids. It was a fantastic idea: combining the creativity of Lego toys with the humor of the videogames with the magic of a couple million people playing together. Aside from picking a faction and leveling up and acquiring cool tools and gadgets, you could also create your own worlds where you could build Lego creations either brick-by-brick or using various modules collected in the game.
It was a fun ride, Lego, and we’re sorry it has to end. My own kids just weren’t quite old enough (and videogame-savvy enough) to completely master the controls yet, but they really enjoyed exploring the universe.
If you haven’t checked it out, there’s is a free play area that you can try out, and membership will run you $9.99 a month. Presumably you can still buy in for just a couple months before it all shuts down and give it a spin.
It’s too bad that there wasn’t an intermediate option that could work, but I have to hope that they considered pricing options before making the decision to close up shop. Unforunately this also means that the Play Well Studios in Colorado (apparently formed when Lego bought out the MMO rights from NetDevil) and the game’s marketing department in Denmark will be shut down, affecting 115 employees. Best of luck to them, and thanks for everything!