Often it is asked why Lego hasn’t done Minecraft. After all, the formula fits. You put blocks on to other blocks to create something blocky and wonderful, fresh from your imagination. Surely that just screams Lego.
It seems that they tried with Lego Universe, but how do you make a kid-friendly Lego MMO when almost everybody seems intent on building penises?
With Lego’s high degree of trust from parents, they felt the pressure to make sure that this wasn’t an issue. Graphics coder Megan Fox (no, not that Megan Fox) talked about the futility of the battle of the dongs through a series of tweets this weekend. As it turns out, Lego Universe had to have a “huge moderation team” in order to check through each person’s build with a “penis sweep” before strangers could see it.
“It was all automated, but the human moderators were IIRC the single biggest cost center for LEGO Universe’s operational costs. Or close to.”
She went on to say that this phallic problem is the big reason why Minecraft, Trove, and all of the others were able to succeed in this genre of gaming where Lego Universe just couldn’t. These other games didn’t have to worry about little kids seeing things that they really shouldn’t because they didn’t have that high parental trust to live up to that Lego do and need to uphold, so they could create these vast sandboxes at a much smaller cost which allowed for the freedom to build anything and everything.
“We even had an employee very nearly fired for building a penis. It was on his own property, but a kid wandered into it during a kid test. We’re talking “test operator rushed forward, blocks the monitor, slams the game closed, four alarm fire to find who built the penis” here. After which a memo went out indicating our new absolute zero tolerance policy on building penises of any kind, anywhere, in the game.”
What can a company do when even their own developers are building penises?
Industry, LEGO, MMO, News