Lego and Epic Games are teaming up to create a kid-friendly metaverse space

Diving brief:

  • The Lego Group has teamed up with Epic Games, the company behind the hugely popular Fortnite game, to create a safe place for kids to explore the metaverse, according to a statement.
  • The Metaverse space will be designed to make security and privacy a priority and provide kids and parents with the tools to control their digital experience.
  • Developing a metaverse space will allow Lego to expand its digital footprint without having to take risks on mainstream – and potentially less secure – platforms such as Decentraland and Roblox, whose users tend to age.

Overview of the dive:

Lego’s digital expansion is timely, especially as children start using the internet at younger and younger ages. Since Lego’s target audience is kids, the brand will naturally want to meet kids where they are. Epic Games is in a similar place. While the average The Fortnite player is between 16 and 24 years old, the company has shown interest in expanding to a younger audience in order to build long-term loyalty. In 2020, the game developer acquired SuperAwesome, a company that creates technology to make digital engagement safe for children.

As interest in the metaverse grows, children are likely to become interested in participating. However, pre-existing metaverse platforms such as Roblox and Decentraland are calibrated for teens and up, presenting challenges for both parents and companies marketing to very young children. Toy companies such as Lego may be reluctant to enter such spaces, which are ripe with their own problems. Parents may also be concerned about letting children use the platforms.

“Children love to play in the digital and physical worlds and move seamlessly between the two,” said Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of The Lego Group, in a press release. “We believe there is enormous potential for them to develop lifelong skills such as creativity, collaboration and communication through digital experiences. But we have a responsibility to make them safe, inspiring and beneficial to all.”

Lego has long been in the video game space, starting with its 1997 release, Lego Island. Since then, the company has produced a total of 85 video games based on its products. However, while these games allow local multiplayer, which means people can play together whether they’re on the same couch or in co-op, they do not allow online multiplayer participation. Players cannot play online with friends or strangers. The new platform would allow children to play online with friends and is a natural progression for the company in an increasingly online world. It gives kids what they want, while promising parents peace of mind.

The partnership with Epic follows a period of significant growth for Lego, which has seen sales jump 27% in 2021 as children and adults have embraced its building sets during the pandemic. With growth rates set to fall back to pre-pandemic levels as the health crisis subsides, Lego is jumping on one of the big trends emerging for brands looking to engage digital consumers.

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