In a stunning move, LEGO Universe will be closed in January, after failing to pick up enough subscribers. The move will see nearly 2 million gamers without a virtual world, and 115 employees in both the U.S. and Denmark without a real-world job as developer Play Well Studios closes its doors.
The game, launched in 2010, apparently recorded “very positive” feedback from fans, but this did not translate into paying customers. The free-to-play area of the game created in June attracted better numbers, but – again – nobody was prepared to pay up.
[img_big]center,3307,2011-06-21/LEGO_MMOG_2011_Avant_Gardens_Maelstrom_Stromlings.jpg,Scary scenes for LEGO Universe[/img_big]
Originally in development at independent studio NetDevil (home of Jumpgate Evolution), LEGO Group bought out the rights to the game – and the development team – in February this year. Many of those staff members lost their jobs in the transition.
Now, as Jesper Vilstrup, VP of LEGO Universe explains:
The LEGO Universe team can take pride in having developed and launched a great LEGO experience that many players will miss.
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.
The decision does not reflect negative attitudes towards the LEGO brand – LEGO Group intends to continue working closely with both TT Games and Warner Bros. to create platformers and other titles, which have remained consistently popular among gamers.
Mads Nipper, executive VP of the LEGO Group explains:
The development of our digital offerings continues to be a very important element in our strategy.
We have more than 20 million visitors on LEGO.com 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.
LEGO Universe will close its doors for good on January 31, 2012.
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