Bricking It: Lego Universe Getting Free Trial

By Quintin Smith on June 22nd, 2011 at 10:02 am.

Whenever another MMO announces that it’s changing to a free to play subscription model, the sound of rapid intakes of breath can be heard throughout corridors of Castle Shotgun like some panicked zephyr. We just can’t believe it. There’s an alternate reality out there where all MMORPGs are free to play and it’s trying to break into ours.

Hot on the heels of the City of Heroes announcement, we’ve heard that child-friendly MMO Lego Universe is doing something similar, but a bit stingier. Where City of Heroes is letting anybody play for free up to level 50, this August Lego Universe will allow anybody to go romping through the game’s first two adventures zones for as long as they like.

Both John and I stuck our jaded little noses into Lego Universe for a review, and we both came up with the same, sad impression (his, mine) of an empty, flawed game, but what do we know? This trailer makes the game seem amazing.

And here’s the press release in full.

The LEGO Group today announced plans for an upcoming free-to-play offering in LEGO® Universe, the MMOG (massively-multiplayer online game) based on the iconic brick-building play experience. Beginning this August, the free-to-play option will welcome players to try LEGO Universe for free, as long as they like, before deciding whether or not to become paid members. Also, players will no longer need to invest in the game DVD to play LEGO Universe. The game will be available via free digital download only.

“The LEGO Group remains committed to success in the digital space and to LEGO Universe,” said Jesper Vilstrup, Vice President, the LEGO Group. “We see LEGO Universe as a key element for our digital play division, and are adjusting the business model to make the game more accessible to players, without the immediate obligation to purchase or subscribe.”

LEGO Universe will continue to generate revenue through paid memberships, and there are no plans for micro-transactions at this time. Players can try out the free-to-play zone for an unlimited period of time, and can pay $10 (USD) per month to become a LEGO Universe member and receive full game access. Those who sign up for extended memberships will continue to receive discount pricing.

The LEGO Universe free-to-play experience will offer a limited selection of game content, including two adventure zones and one player property area for building their own virtual LEGO models. Paying members will have access to all areas in the full game, along with membership benefits such as competitions and community events. In addition to the 15+ robust adventure zones and instances as well as 5+ property worlds currently in-game, access to new expansions, like major Ninjago content coming later this year, will require players to register for full membership.

Aside from simplified registration and game access for consumers, digital distribution will also enable LEGO Universe to expand more efficiently. The MMOG has new updates, features, challenges and rewards – more than any box could handle – planned for Q4 2011 and beyond!

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11 Comments »

  1. Xercies says:

    So not Free To Play and just a trial, please can people actually give the right word for these games!

    • Scatterbrainpaul says:

      Pretty sure the trial is free to play.

      Be pretty rubbish if they charged you to play the trial. Would be even worse if they charged you more to play the trial than actually buying the game

    • Xercies says:

      Oh I do know that the trial is Free To Play but Free to Pllay is its own thing, its own genre it could be argued. Say what it is, its a trial for the full game, it isn’t really Free To Play in the strictest sense of what hat means

    • Jam says:

      We have word for it already though. Either simply Trial or Demo.

      Saying Free to Play before Trial is like saying my sandwich is Free to Eat. It’s right, granted, but unnecessary.

  2. unlimitedgiants says:

    Too bad they didn’t make it “Minecraft with Lego”.

    • Kirioth says:

      Agreed.

      Until they implement something that means you make a jet powered pirate ship that has shark cannons on the front and laser cannons on the side, I’m not playing it.

  3. Vexing Vision says:

    Lego Universe is a fantastically designed game. It’s really, really good when I played the Beta.

    But making this subscription-based was the most harebrained thing I’ve ever seen from a biz-perspective, which is a shame – the game deserves a significantly bigger audience than it currently holds.

    I’ll certainly build my own little free place there, and very much looking forward to it!

  4. johnpeat says:

    Given that the client is available for pennies in a variety of places (it was £7 last time I was in ASDA, for example) – I’m amazed it’s taken this long to do a trial!?

    I played a fair bit in BETA, it’s a grindathon aimed at kids but there’s some fun to be had in places.

    I think they missed-the-mark with it tho – for a game based on a construction toy, the construction aspect is limited and not really the core of the game, this is like making a game about a war movie which concentrates on the love affair and running the cafe that the heroine’s family own…

  5. GCU Speak Softly says:

    Yes, the disappointing thing to me about the beta was that you didn’t do a lot of building stuff with LEGO. Might have a run around in the ‘trial’ to see if I can get my money’s worth…

  6. aircool says:

    I enjoyed my 30 free days, but not worth subscribing. Dear LEGO, see Minecraft. Cheerio.

  7. Camerooni says:

    This game is still region locked for anyone in Australia (and possibly some of the other even smellier colonies)..
    If you want people to play your games, then LET PEOPLE PLAY YOUR GAMES *sigh*.