On April 7, LEGO announced a long term partnership with EPIC games to shape the future of the metaverse focused on families and children. This announcement did not come as a surprise as LEGO had already invested in EPCI and also had experimented with immersive technologies and digital media for many years. LEGO is sure to capitalize on the opportunity and is very well positioned to be successful in building a mainstream metaverse for its audience. Here are some factors that will make this vision a reality.
LEGO is a PRISTINE brand
When it comes to toy brands, LEGO is exceptional. They often have been compared to Apple, in terms of innovation and product design. LEGO core product has not changed overtime,and their brand enjoys the #1 spot in brand value in the toy space, which is a 8 billion dollars a year industry. In terms of reputation, recognition and trust, LEGO has unprecedented value.
When it comes to the metaverse, there is a lot of skepticism, confusion and even distruts. Meta, formerly Facebook, was the company that brought the term metaverse to the headlines as the newest iteration of human digital interaction. This of course, did not come without controversy, as the company reputation has been hit with a series of scandals. A trusted brand like LEGO could change this perception by creating a family friendly iteration of the metaverse, with safety and privacy featured from the start.
LEGO has Experience with interactive media
The LEGO brand has a privileged spot internationally, but this success was not always the case, like many brands, LEGO had challenging times, which forced their corporate leadership to look into diversification. This drove the company to spend a lot of cash in areas and products that were new to the company. Some of the products were immediate successes, others still have to see profitability
One of LEGO’s experiments with immersive media, is the LEGO Hidden Side Augmented series. These series combines the traditional LEGO set with a movile AR app where children can extend the story by playing games and earning badges and points.
Besides several video games licensed titles dating back to the early 2000, LEGO partnered with Unity to create the LEGO micrograme framework. This brought a complete video game creation suite where children could create their won worlds and export the games for PC and mobile.
LEGO Products Always Revolved Around STORYTELLING and World Building
LEGO has built a product and brand focused on promoting creativity, by offering children a toy they can build, rather a toy that is already-made. This was known as the LEGO System of Play. In the past few years, LEGO began to license characters to produce exclusive sets and games and even full-length movies. They also have created their own brand of story lines such as Ninjago® that have spun off TV shows, merchandise and clothing. This vast ecosystem of products and channels, give LEGO the perfect setup for creating the storylines to create virtual worlds in the metaverse.
EPIC HAS THE TOOLS TO build a metaverse
Epic games do not need an introduction. Recently, they have made the headlines with several innovations related to the metaverse. Their biggest hit, Forenite, is an example of what an open metaverse could look like and it has served to solidify the model of free-to-play. This model is an excellent platform for world building and digital ownership. Epic had made a significant commitment to make their products as accessible as possible and enable developers to create. In April, EPIC got a 2 billion round of funding from SONY and KIRKBI, an investment group operated by the Kirk Kristiansen family, which founded the Lego Group. EPIC games game engine UNREAL, is one of the leading creator engines for video games, virtual reality and 3D films.
A safe Metaverse for Children and Families
LEGO and Epic are working very closely to ensure that their vision of the metaverse will promote the original vision of the LEGO Play System values. Epic is also committed to enabling developers to create age-appropriate experiences online and in 2020 acquired SuperAwesome, a company that has pioneered technology designed to deliver safe digital engagement with children under 16. LEGO official statement about the creation of their metaverse is as follows:
- Protect children’s right to play by making safety and wellbeing a priority.
- Safeguard children’s privacy by putting their best interests first.
- Empower children and adults with tools that give them control over their digital experience.
The metaverse is a nebulous tech buzzwords that has captivated media and users alike. With video game addictions a very real problem in amongst today’s youth. Many are worried of its implications and impact on teens and children. LEGO’s pristine brand reputation can mitigate a lot of that friction and position the brand to be a leader in this new medium. On the other hand, EPIC can provide the technical know-how of how to execute this vision of the metaverse that is accessible via as many platforms as possible.
However, for LEGO and EPIC to build a real metaverse, it will need to implement a system of digital ownership. This is where blockchain and NFTs will make a difference, but, those technologies still are not implemented by either LEGO or EPIC games. In term of how children and families will experience the metaverse, its is still debatable. For the metaverse to be a truly immersive experience, it requires specialized hardware like the Meta Quest, formerly known as the Oculus Quest 2, which is not recommended for use under the age of 13. LEGO is an new player in the race for dominance of the metaverse and I have high hopes this is positive move that will benefit the brand, as well as users.
Michael is a front-end developer focusing on coding and managing accessible and fast websites for large corporations using WordPress. As an early adopter of virtual reality, Michael started coding immersive experiences using A-Frame and Unity.
METAVERSE ONLINE COURSES
Learn UX/UI design, NFT Marketing strategies and Blockchain development, 100% online with metaverseacademy.io