LEGO Announces end of video-game tie-in theme
LEGO will stop producing new entries into the DIMENSION line, effective immediately. The company announced that the game servers will continue to run and all existing expansion packs will remain available for purchase, but they have pulled the plug on any new additions to the theme.
What Was DIMENSIONS?
DIMENSIONS was LEGO’s attempt at creating a video-game tie-in. Players/builders would buy a base set for the console of their choice (current or previous generation Xbox and also WiiU were supported). That would give them access to the game and a few characters from various themed universes. From there, builders could buy small expansion packs which included small LEGO sets, typically a figurine or two along with some combination of vehicles and/or gadgets. Players would build them and use their base set to import them into their game. The expansions would contain new video game material on top of the new LEGOs, typically a new level or world to explore.
How Was It?
It was a lot of fun. The mash-up possibilities essentially bring to life what LEGO builders have been doing for years: combining many different worlds into one. Want to take Gandalf and Bart Simpson through a Scooby-Doo mystery? Go for it. The amount of IP that was represented in the DIMENSIONS series was fairly astounding:
Adventure Time, Back to the Future, Beetlejuice, DC Comics, Doctor Who, E.T., Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter), Ghostbusters, Goonies, Harry Potter, Jurassic World, LEGO Batman Movie, LEGO City, LEGO Chima, LEGO Ninjango, Midway Arcade, Mission Impossible, Portal 2, The Powerpuff Girls, Scooby-Doo, Sonic the Hedgehog, Teen Titans, The A-Team, The Gremlins, The LEGO Movie, The Lord of the Rings, The Simpsons, The Wizard of Oz.
Phew. There are some deep cuts in that list, image the possibilities you can put together. It is truly impressive the wide range of IP LEGO was able to offer in the DIMENSIONS line.
What Went Wrong?
Good question. The basic idea holds a ton of appeal, who wouldn’t want to mash-up that impressive list of characters? No matter your taste in pop culture, there are likely multiple options for you. The first thing that has to be considered is price. The starter packs run $90 for the current generation consoles, but can be found for about $65 on Amazon. That’s already more than the price of a standard video game. You do get the really cool base unit, of course, but if somebody is comparing DIMENSIONS to a high profile video game release, paying more for a LEGO game might be a tough sale. Additionally, the expansions aren’t exactly cheap. Broken down into three categories, Story Pack, Team Pack, and Fun Pack, they typically run about $45, $25, and $15, respectively. It is very easy to imagine the price tag of owning and multiple expansions ballooning out of control with these prices. An Xbox One starter pack and the cheapest, smallest expansion would be over $100 if you pay MSRP.
More importantly, perhaps, is the cost to LEGO to keep the series going. The cost to keep the servers running couldn’t be cheap, not to mention the development that goes into each new expansion pack to bring the characters, worlds, and stories into the video game world.
Ultimately, the toy-based video game market just wasn’t there. LEGO put forth a fine effort, releasing a quality video game and, of course, great LEGO sets, but ultimately they weren’t able to get a big enough audience to make it work. It is unfortunate for fans of the series, but ultimately better for LEGO than pouring money into a losing proposition.
Can I Still Play?
Yes! LEGO has said the servers will remain online and all existing expansions will continue to be sold. LEGO won’t be pulling everything off the shelf and shutting down the entire online system, which is great news. There is no word on how long the servers will be up, but it might be a good time to jump into DIMENSIONS as the prices on some of the sets will likely drop with this news.
My wife calls Legos my "full-time hobby." I am always looking forward to the next build and you can be sure I will take detailed notes about every step of the process so I can provide the most complete reviews out there.