LEGO Universe to go Freemium and Digital Download only

After an investment of 200 million Danish Kronas ($36 million) and a “not as good as expected” launch in October 2010 LEGO Universe, a MMORPG based on the famous building blocks, will become partially free to play with the hope to bring more user traffic.

According to an interview with Jesper Vilstrup, director of LEGO Universe with Business.dk, the product did not fulfill the commercial expectations.

“Several hundred thousand players have been through the game since launch, but we must acknowledge that the registration itself was too complicated for kids and parents. LEGO Universe has not lived up to commercial expectations, and therefore we take the consequences for getting significantly more players in.”

Two out of 15 game zones will be available free from August giving some 15 to 20 hours of game experience with the hope to convert some of those users into paying customers. The subscription price for the entire game will be $10 per month with discounts if you choose a six or twelve months payment. There is of course the risk that those free levels will be more than enough for some kids who then don’t feel a need to upgrade to the full version.

LEGO is also going to discontinue the installation via DVD. From August, the game can only be downloaded. LEGO is planning to add more updates and new gaming content on a regular basis and this won’t be possible to handle via classic installation methods. LEGO Universe runs both on PC or Mac. Currently the game is available in English and German with the most users coming from the US. A Danish version is in the planning but won’t be launched this year.

LEGO Universe is developed by Gazillion Entertainment in Colorado, USA which bought the former developer of the game NetDevil in 2006. About 70 developers are currently working on the project.

Lidie Olesen is the founder of Boris Temkov Institute, a research facility encouraging cultural analysis. The institute hosts online library with contemporary Bulgarian history documents, supporting students, educators and history interested individuals in their study quests.