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Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

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Is the LEGO® Cuus∞ concept broken?

Yes
10
34%
No
4
14%
Nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little adjustment to the Cuusoo guidelines
15
52%
 
Total votes : 29

Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby Draykov » Wed May 09, 2012 12:53 pm

There's been a lot of talk around the forums lately about the licensed properties that are represented on the LEGO® Cuusoo site. It seems certain ideas that resonate with the fan-base of those properties quickly rise to the 10,000 vote mark only to be shot down by LEGO due to conflicts with their core ideology/target demographic.

So this begs the question (as has been mentioned in the various threads floating around the forum on the subject): is the Cuusoo model broken? It looks like the folks at LEGO® Cuusoo are already trying to address expectations based on recent events (read: moderate projects before made public and available to be voted on - I'm guessing by "March 29" they mean May 29).

Related threads:

Firefly CUUSOO Entry Gets to 10,000 Votes
The Legend Of Zelda Reaches 10,000 Votes On Cuusoo
LEGO CUUSOO – ‘Eve Online Ships’ Gains Support
CUUSOO Back to the Future Entry Reaches 10,000 Votes
Another LEGO Cuusoo Milestone: Shaun of the Dead

While this deals heavily with licenses, Cuusoo in and of itself is a general LEGO subject, hence this poll's placement in this forum.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby tahdas » Wed May 09, 2012 1:24 pm

Don't you think that Lego is a little to paranoid about violent themes? No warfare? No first-person shooter video games? No death, killing, blood, terrorism, or torture is understandable. But i think no first-person shooter video games is a little over the top and I'm not even game person. I bet a Halo theme would make as much money as the starwars theme. What is it ? Are they afraid of losing costumers? They could take surveys: "If lego made a Halo, Firefly,Call of Duty, Ect. Theme Would you A. Let your child Buy of play with them? B. Ban your Child from buy legos anymore. Or C. Could care less What toy your child play with.
I would love a military theme and would love to suggest it on lego cuusoo but i would be afraid it would be pulled down. I could understand if it was a Rambo or Expendables theme but a military theme would by fine.
I guess i'm kinda rambling on so i'll stop here.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby crazybirdman » Wed May 09, 2012 1:33 pm

it just has to be really old military, and it'll be okay.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby Mister Ed » Wed May 09, 2012 1:37 pm

crazybirdman wrote:it just has to be really old military, and it'll be okay.


Or, y'know, from a film George Lucas made. ;)
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby tahdas » Wed May 09, 2012 1:56 pm

Old military is kinda boring. More like a general military thing. Like war ships , tanks bomber and fighter planes, humvees, trucks, Ect.
@ Mister Ed: LOL! Lucas Make a Gory war movie!
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby Draykov » Wed May 09, 2012 2:04 pm

In response to tahdas:

I think it's more that they have a set of standards that was laid down by Ole Kirk Christiansen and it's a company that is still owned by the Christiansen family. While this may mean that certain LEGO themes will never see the light of day, I think you've got to respect them for sticking to their guns (or lack thereof). Yes, there are certain themes that seem to skirt the line, but ultimately, they stand by their ideology. Danes. Gotta love 'em.

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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby Mister Ed » Wed May 09, 2012 2:13 pm

tahdas wrote:@ Mister Ed: LOL! Lucas Make a Gory war movie!


That would be an interesting conundrum. How far could Lucas push Star Wars or Indiana Jones and STILL get LEGO to make sets based on them? I'd guess it would be limited only by how far he could push them without alienating the movie audiences. If moviegoers are still buying tickets, I can't see LEGO drawing a line in the sand anytime soon.

They aren't exactly "skirting the lines" anymore as far as I can tell. Plenty of guns in LEGO sets, and certainly there were CLEAR military vehicles in the Indiana Jones line. I don't actually see them sticking to a consistent principle. They have one set of priciples for non-licensed sets, and another, much LOOSER, set for licensed ones...
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby Draykov » Wed May 09, 2012 2:39 pm

Mister Ed wrote:I don't actually see them sticking to a consistent principle. They have one set of priciples for non-licensed sets, and another, much LOOSER, set for licensed ones...


I suppose that is true. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the sticking points in that Cuusoo blog post are supposed to hold true for all LEGO themes, licensed and original:

  1. Politics and political symbols
  2. Religious references including symbols, buildings, or people
  3. party, drugs, or smoking
  4. Alcohol in any present day situation
  5. Swearing
  6. Death, killing, blood, terrorism, or torture
  7. First-person shooter video games
  8. Warfare or war vehicles in any situation post-WWII to present
  9. Racism, bullying, or cruelty to real life animals

It's still all open to interpretation...does death/swearing/etc. constitute a movie that contains these themes, or are we referring to LEGO sets that depict scenes from these movies that explicitly represent these objectionable themes (e.g. Anakin's maiming)? So far, I think they're in the clear on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. Where licensed lines are concerned, 6 and 8 have been violated by Star Wars, Indiana Jones (Crystal Skull was post-WWII) and Harry Potter. I never saw Prince of Persia, but I suspect you can add that to the list. You could make the case that 9 has been violated by licensed and original themes, depending on how you feel about sonic-blasting and imprisoning dinosaurs.

The determination of how a project fits these above standards will be at our discretion.


Yes, it would seem so. The fact is though, that they are trying to draw a line. It may be squiggly, but it's a line. While that can be a source of frustration, I think I'd rather they do that than just open it up in a free-for-all. Getting back to the topic at hand, though, that's been the problem with Cuusoo. They've been drawing the line retroactively, much to the disappointment of fans (LEGO or otherwise) thinking there was a chance at some cool new set based on potentially objectionable source material. I'm glad they're not oblivious to it and are taking steps to temper expectations (though it does seem like this kinda stuff would've come up in a planning meeting at some point).
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby HothTrooper » Wed May 09, 2012 4:17 pm

I voted for the third option. As I've said before, LEGO needs to decide who they're targeting with CUUSOO and adjust the age requirements for the site accordingly. Asking teens and adults to design kits for 6-11 year old children (without putting them on the payroll) is never going to be a viable long-term business venture. Right now, the participants are looking at CUUSOO as a kind of "LEGO Kickstarter" where they can design and support projects they are interested in and LEGO is looking at it as a way to outsource their R&D for their primary product line. I doubt very many current members signed up to be free R&D and to tailor their projects and votes to 6-11 year old children. I'd say their are two possible options to make CUUSOO a more viable product for LEGO.

1) Keep the current age restrictions (13+ for membership and 18+ to create projects) and spin CUUSOO off into a subsidiary brand specifically targeted towards older collectors (most likely with online only purchasing to keep the brand separate from the 6-11 year old demographic).

2) Alter the age restrictions (under 13 only) and keep CUUSOO aligned with the core LEGO brand and values.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby hatcher » Wed May 09, 2012 5:08 pm

Personally, i think LEGO is doing this whole thing backwards. People should submit an idea to CUUSOO. Lego should then either approve it or reject it BEFORE people start voting for it. That way, the Winchester and Firefly would have never even been up for consideration, and we wouldn't have all these upset and angry fans on LEGO blogs and mesage boards cursing (or at least strongly protesting) LEGO for dashing their dreams.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby Draykov » Wed May 09, 2012 5:38 pm

I got the impression from that Cuusoo blog post that that is exactly what they're going to start doing as of May 29...kinda surprised they didn't figure that out before they deployed Cuusoo though.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby MrCRskater » Wed May 09, 2012 6:15 pm

This has been an interesting topic of discussion over the past few weeks. It seems that some folks interpreted this Cuusoo thing as a completely open invitation to design/wish for anything and everything. Maybe this was LEGO's fault in how they marketed and implemented the concept, but I think at least some of the responsibility has to lie with the fans here. We've all known for years now what LEGO's stance is on violence and otherwise adult themes, even if it hasn't been "spelled out" until now. It's probably safe to assume that anyone submitting a viable project on Cuusoo would be aware of these same restrictions - so why even post those things in the first place?

Sure, people make the argument that "it doesn't depict a violent scene from that R-rated movie" or what-have-you, but the bottom line is that the source material is R-rated. Consumers' product interest (as far as toys, anyway) is largely driven by context. As an example, Shaun of the Dead is probably inappropriate for most (if not all) 6-11 year olds, so if they haven't seen the film, their interest in a Wincester model will be very limited - regardless of how cool the model is. This holds true for many of us AFOL's, too, whether or not you'd like to admit it. I've never seen Shaun of the Dead, so didn't care a lick about the Wincester. Never played Minecraft, so I'm taking a pass on the official brick box. By the same token, I only had a passing interest in the Avengers sets - mostly for the figs - until I saw the movie. Now I'm gunning for the whole line.

Further, it's totally unrealistic to suggest/request/think/hope that LEGO will produce an adult set for adults-only. All of their offerings aimed at adults don't leave the kids behind (what 10-year-old doesn't marvel at the Death Star playset or the Grand Imporium?), nor do their "kid" offerings leave adults behind (how many of us are addicted to battle packs or Ninjago?). It's a business move they've never made, and probably for good reason. They're not going to start now.
hatcher wrote:People should submit an idea to CUUSOO. Lego should then either approve it or reject it BEFORE people start voting for it.

This seems like a good fix. My guess is that LEGO was probably more interested in showcasing talented builders and fine user models more than anything, and having a review process BEFORE a submission is posted will theoretically shift the focus back in that direction.
Draykov wrote:While this may mean that certain LEGO themes will never see the light of day, I think you've got to respect them for sticking to their guns (or lack thereof).

I see what you did there. . . :lol:
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby cas » Wed May 09, 2012 6:40 pm

MrCRskater wrote:It seems that some folks interpreted this Cuusoo thing as a completely open invitation to design/wish for anything and everything.

I've noticed this heavily on non-Lego sites that have posted Cuusoo projects. On several video game oriented websites, I'm seeing many people equating 10,000 votes as a guaranteed product, including the authors of the corresponding blog/article posts. From where I'm sitting, Lego hasn't communicated what Cuusoo is as well as they could (and neither have a lot of people outside of core fan sites such as Brickset, here), but they are getting better. If I go to the main Cuusoo page, I can see how people might interpret it as a source of "anything and everything;" it's still a work in progress.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby HothTrooper » Wed May 09, 2012 6:59 pm

MrCRskater and cas bring up good points. Considering the slogan on the main page right under the sign up button is "MAKES YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!!", I'd say LEGO needs to take a serious look at their marketing strategy. Maybe, "Become a Real LEGO Designer" would be more appropriate. Something like that would at least imply your working under the same guidelines as actual LEGO designers. The current slogan makes it sound like Kickstarter: LEGO Edition.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby SuperDave » Thu May 10, 2012 6:32 am

Possibly off-topic:
There may be a thematic difference between "war vehicles" and "military vehicles," where "war vehicles" are built specifically for front-line fighting while other "military vehicles" represent transports or utility vehicles in military colors. The Indy line really didn't feature many "war vehicles" (the fighter plane in 7198, maybe the flying wing) but focused more on transports (jeeps, trucks, ducks, tracked vehicles) that sometimes had mounted machine guns.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby Crusader » Thu May 10, 2012 8:35 am

I'm saddened by their decision to exclude all religious stuff. I would have liked Lego to make a nice wintry church to complement their Holiday sets of the last few years. I realize there is wisdom in keeping away from any kind of religious theme, but my guess is that Lego could pull off a pretty non-denominational little church without setting the world aflame.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby CaptainFordo » Thu May 10, 2012 9:32 am

SuperDave wrote:Possibly off-topic:
There may be a thematic difference between "war vehicles" and "military vehicles," where "war vehicles" are built specifically for front-line fighting while other "military vehicles" represent transports or utility vehicles in military colors. The Indy line really didn't feature many "war vehicles" (the fighter plane in 7198, maybe the flying wing) but focused more on transports (jeeps, trucks, ducks, tracked vehicles) that sometimes had mounted machine guns.


Actually I feel military is the sticking point rather than war. Lego is an international company, if they made say sets based on US military, then other countries may cry foul about fair representation. This is probably why they can get away with pre-WWII stuff, because they count as historical vehicles and not representative of any current military, more a period in history. Just my guess at the situation.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby MisterFubar » Thu May 10, 2012 8:27 pm

I don't think Cuusoo is broken, I think American culture is.
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby crazybirdman » Thu May 10, 2012 8:48 pm

Culture can't be broken, it just is
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Re: Is the LEGO® Cuusoo concept broken?

Postby dWhisper » Fri May 11, 2012 2:31 pm

crazybirdman wrote:Culture can't be broken, it just is


The popularity of Justin Bieber says otherwise.

That being said, culture isn't the problem, but the people certainly are. LEGO could have certainly been more... focused, let's say, about what they wanted. But the bigger problem is their product for years has been marketed to people that don't understand the most basic thing about what LEGO is: a product where you can build whatever you like. Take a jaunt down our "set wishlist" threads and see what I mean. It's a toy of imagination, and support seems to come from mostly people that don't get that simple fact.

There are a ton of great ideas (go look at some of the modular buildings, Classic Space inspired lines, or the Western Town modular ideas), but most of the support is coming from people who either aren't LEGO collectors, or are just LEGO buyers.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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