Now this one I didn't expect, but in retrospect, it should have been fairly obvious in the coming: Lego Universe is closing its doors . Per the official FAQs, Lego Universe will go dark January 31, 2012 at midnight (EST), barely making it past a year of up time. Ouch.
Quoting from the website, "All current subscribers (1, 6 or 12 month plans) who still have active subscriptions on December 31 will receive a refund for any remaining game time remaining after December 31 as well as free play from January 1, 2012 until January 31. For example, if you purchased a 6-month subscription on September 1, 2011 (which would expire on February 29, 2012), you would be refunded $16.66 for the 2 months following December 31."
Honestly, we should have seen this coming and more than likely filed this failure under "mistargeted demographic." How is that? Sure everybody knows legos are kids toys, but realistically, who is buying that $100 Pirates of the Caribbean ship or the slightly pricier Star Wars Millennium Falcon? How about the $400 Death Star? Better yet, who's it for? Something's telling me it isn't Timmy eight-year-old shelling out four hundred bones for his hobby, nor is he the one with his Visa card in hand ponying up for a monthly subscription.
Hell, even slightly more juvenile fandoms like Harry Freakin' Potter are still going to set you back $80, so I gotta be asking Lego Group, who the hell is buying this crap and why didn't you target a game for them? Rhetorical question for those really feeling the need to answer it. Drawing on my own experience, I was more than willing to give the game a try until I realized the target audience and all that followed. A hyper restrictive chat filter. Gameplay with the depth of a muddy puddle. A comparatively short experience to end game. For anybody with the actual means to pay and play- that is to say, not borrowing dad's credit card to hop on the computer -Lego Universe was a huge stoplight. I'd even be willing to bet that the gamer demographic playing their console titles is a bit older than they realize.
Of course, Lego Group has their own take on why Lego Universe failed. When asked why they are closing down, they reply: "We love LEGO Universe too! Seeing you in the game was a really great experience for us and we’re going to miss everything that LEGO Universe accomplished. There are still lots of fun free games on lego.com and you can still share your memories of the game with other explorers on our message boards."
That's code for "we fucked up".
Sure the game might be offically dead, but don't despair. DC Universe has proven there is life after insolvency and something tells me this would be a perfect game to chuck down the free to play toilet. With a few changes of course.
Like respecting the people who pay your bills.