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Lego a victim of its own digital success with Lego Universe closure, says expert

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By Stephen Lepitak, -

November 11, 2011 | 2 min read

Last week it was announced that Lego was to close its virtual world Lego Universe down in the early stages of next year as it had failed to engage with the numbers that would make it viable.

Matthew Warneford, CTO of virtual world developer Dubit, which works with brands such as the BBC, Cartoon Network and Diesel Jeans, said that the closure of Lego Universe was an example of how competitive the sector had become, but said that it should not be held as a barometer for the industry.

“There are many brands showing how they can work, such Club Penguin, Bin Weevils, Webkinz, Neopets, and Build-A-Bear’s Bearville. There are currently 1.4 billion registered accounts for virtual worlds and the youth sector makes up a significant part of that number,” Warneford told The Drum.

“The key to a virtual world is converting players to payers and here Lego Universe may have been a victim of the brand’s success. As well as offering a multitude of physical products, Lego’s own video games have been a huge success. Children could already engage with a digital Lego product and may not have seen enough of difference between Universe and the likes of the Lego Star Wars and Harry Potter games,” he added.

The site will close on 31 January 2012, with subscribers being allowed to have the final month to play on the platform for free, while long-term subscribers will be offered refunds.

The site was launched at the end of last year, which would allow users to go on quests and develop their own Lego properties.

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