The LEGO Renaissance continues and shows no signs of letting up. Astonishingly, the toy line was near the brink of obscurity not too long ago. But they revamped the product, secured several high-profile licenses, and made the brand more relevant than ever. But they didn’t put all of their eggs in one multicolored LEGO basket.
They also beefed up the LEGOLAND theme parks around the world, let loose a flood of animated projects across multiple different franchises (including their own originals, such as Ninjago), made headway with the Mindstorms brand and LEGO Education in schools, blew away all expectations with The LEGO Movie, and even broke new ground in the toys-to-life realm with LEGO Dimensions.
They’ve been busy.
And now, they’re jumping into the social network game with LEGO Life.
What is LEGO Life? It’s a mobile app that lets kids create a 3D LEGO minifigure avatar and interact with other users, sharing their LEGO creations. Along the way, they’re able to interact with LEGO characters, engage in building challenges, watch videos, and use an exclusive custom LEGO emoji keyboard. Because kids love emojis.
LEGO Life also delivers a newsfeed that is customized to users’ preferences. You can identify and “follow” topics of interest (such as LEGO themes, heroes, or seasonal programs) so your feed is populated with relevant images and challenges (many of which are issued by LEGO Master Builders).
The digital experience provides an outlet for young LEGO builders of all levels and interests to connect with a like-minded community.
“The LEGO Group aims to develop digital experiences that complement and enhance LEGO play,” said Rob Lowe, head of LEGO Life. (No, not that Rob Lowe.) “LEGO Life creates a platform that amplifies the joy of building and pride of creation that kids experience with tactile play through the digital world in a safe way–further unleashing creativity among kids and tweens on a much broader scale.”
They’ll also occasionally roll out various safety-themed challenges into LEGO Life (such as they recently did for Safe Internet Day) where members will be able to participate in quizzes and sticker challenges that promote and encourage safe and positive online behavior.
But how safe is it? LEGO Life is designed to be used by kids under 13, so this is a particularly thorny issue. For starters, the platform prevents kids from sharing personal information, images, or anything that could allow users to identify or locate one another.
Usernames are the product of a random name generator that creates a three-word display name, such as DukeCharmingShrimp or ChairmanWilyDolphin. And avatars are LEGO minifigures that users can customize.
In addition, most commenting is done through emojis (rather than text), and direct messaging between users is not an option. All content and comments posted to LEGO Life are moderated by LEGO employees around the world who have been specially trained to keep the platform child-friendly.
Users can upload photos of their creations, but in order for them to be approved, they must be deemed age-appropriate, cannot show real people, are LEGO related, and don’t link to other websites.
What do you think? Have you checked our LEGO Life yet? Are your kids using it? Will you give it a shot? Sound off in the comments.
The experience launched at the end of January in the United States, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, and Switzerland. Additional markets will launch in 2017 and 2018.