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Lego using physical product to distinguish MMO ambitions

Matt Martin 08:40 (BST) 03/03/2008

Toy manufacturer to combine digital and physical processes for Lego Universe

Lego hopes to distinguish itself from the current MMO gaming market by incorporating physical products into its forthcoming title Lego Universe.

As well as traditional online play, users will be able to design characters and other creations in-game, which Lego will then make into real products for the user at its manufacturing plant in Denmark

Utilising the Lego Group's original manufacturing business is the key distinguishing element for Lego Universe said development director Mark Hansen, with the company confident of entering the expensive MMO market following feedback from its loyal user community.

"That's what our supply chain is geared towards. It's about the customisation. We have the Lego factory in Denmark so we built the whole back-supply chain first before we built the game. From 1999, until now, we've been developing this concept," said Hansen, in an exclusive interview published today.

"We're very proud of that because there's no one else that can do that."

Lego first introduced the concept of users designing models online with its computer-aided design package Lego Digital Designer.

Hansen said the amateur Lego community has been involved in Lego Universe since its conception. A number of dedicated users have been working with development studio NetDevil on the the project something that Lego is very pleased that the US online specialists were willing to accommodate.

"The community is really the strong voice here. We know we have a registered three million plus community, we know who they are. They build with Lego, they organise their own events and they are very integrated with us and they are very happy about the opportunities the game will offer," said Hansen.

"They have a lot of voice and a lot of say in the development of the game. And we're very lucky that NetDevil is open to accepting that way of working. A lot of developers out there understand what community is in respect to playing a game, but this is really about working with a community that is on 24/7.

"They are creating, building, testing and we have to react to that constantly. It's democratising the development of the game, he added.

The full interview with Hansen can be read here.

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