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Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby cas » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:06 pm

I don't see the point of this line other than for Hasbro to take a slice of marketshare from Lego and maybe Megabloks. It's Transformers that don't transform. Okay then. But hey, they are compatible with "most leading brands." So now my alternate universe self can finally have those Halo versus Transformers battles he's been longing so desperately for!

Pew pew!
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby GIR3691 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:31 pm

meeotch wrote:
Chief wrote:
GIR3691 wrote:Since Hasbro is ripping off LEGO's designs, it should be pretty easy for someone to make LEGO versions of these sets. *hint hint*


New community project? :)


Best. Idea. Ever.

I'd be down for that. Since these models mainly use existing LEGO brick designs anyway, we can use them as a reference point for our own Transformers MOCs. It'll be our interpretation had this been done right (by which I mean official TLG sets, which will never happen). It sort of fits the site, which focuses on licensed themes. This almost qualifies anyway.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby turtle » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:45 pm

knife cuts both way here folks.... They've done such a good job of ripping off parts that are obviously lego, that anyone can take their instruction books and assemble these models from legos.

BTW Kre- "O" ..... Leg- "O"

Lego probably doesn't have TM on a lot of their pieces, but the name Kre-O has got to be pushing the boundary of infringement.

The design of the sets is very cool, but transformers that don't "transform" are what? That's what made them cool in the first place...

For me it has always come down to quality, that's what brought me out of my dark ages. The writing on the wall says that leog will eventually "sell out", and there won't be anymore "good" legos. So I'm buying them now, while I can still get them. I have never bought any of the clone brands, and I will never buy inferior quality bricks, not from anyone - not even lego.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby LL918 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:35 pm

When someone first put a link to something about this Kre-O in one of the other threads a few days ago I raised the question about some of the newer parts being ripped off, and the possibility of litigation. I wonder if someone has given them legal advice that one open stud and one filled stud will negate a copyright claim on recent piece designs?

We can hope that a bit more competition will help bring down LEGO prices, but there is also a realistic alternative that it could bring down quality.

As for the double standards / hypocrisy of Hasbro stopping LEGO from doing 'action figure' vs Hasbro doing a building toy - the difference is - Hasbro / Kre-O is not doing Star Wars building toys. Unless the LEGO / Lucas film licence is about to end. (No I am not trying to cause panic. Of course a LEGO tie-in will be more profitable for George.)

Now as for the name Kre-O - it reminds me of the Australian abbreviation for Kerosene, - I’m not sure if the same term (kero) is used elsewhere - maybe we should just throw some on and light it up?
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby GrayMattR » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:55 am

It makes perfect sense for Hasbro to do this line since Transformers have become so popular again and there's another movie in the works. I think Transformers are cool but I'm not a fan or collector so this line only interests me as far as the model designs look cool.

I have to say though, that since Hasbro is blatantly ripping off LEGO designed parts, LEGO shouldn't bow to the demands of "no figure packs" and "glue the magnets" that Hasbro cries about. LEGO should reverse their decisions. Hasbro can stick their head in an oven.

These sets are clearly not built out for quality; Hasbro's Built to Rule line was completely crappy quality. These are going to anger a lot of parents as they step barefoot on pieces that don't hold together well.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby Crusader » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:52 am

So can I officially dub them Krap-o from now on?
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby dman7529 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:26 am

turtle wrote:The design of the sets is very cool, but transformers that don't "transform" are what? That's what made them cool in the first place...


For those old enough, do yall remember Action Masters??

The line looks cool, better than the Built to Rule, but the blatant rip-off of specialized parts is just wrong in my book.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby Novastinger » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:32 am

My guess is a lot of parents and kids will be tricked into buying a set or two of Kre-O, and then realize the piece quality is even worse than Megablocks, which will cause them to shun the line and stay with Lego. So maybe a short term bite into Lego sales for a bit, but I don't see any sustainable competition coming from Kre-O.

I don't see this a bad thing for Lego fans though, as a little market competition usually benefits the consumers.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby J30spiff » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:18 am

I grew up on Star Wars in the late 70s and 80s. After Star Wars I moved on to Transformers. That in a nutshell are the toys I grew up on. At this point in my life, I still love and enjoy both. If I were to pick one over the other it would be Star Wars without hesitation.

I have my "collector" tendencies and quality is a major selling point for me. LEGO is the established "King of Buliding Sets" in my book. They are the quality and standard that every other toy manufacturer trying to get into building sets dreams to be. Aside from prices, LEGO has never done me wrong and I really can't fault them for that because their products continue to fly off of shelves.

In regards to Hasbro and their Kre-O line, it makes me laugh that they're making a Transformers toy that doesn't transform. Come on now, they're going to have a mob of angry customers when they realize they spent money on non-transforming Transformers. If I was creating a toy line and trying to go to battle with LEGO, I would want my product to be better than or at least on par with them. If my toys can't do this, what's the point? If I was unveiling a new line of toys, I would make sure my product was top-notch. Hasbro has failed to do this thus far.

So what does all this mean? I will pass on Kre-O. I'll have to explain to my 6yo son that the Transformer sets in the "Building Sets" section of the store are not really LEGO. He understands and knows the differences in brands and I can't wait to hear him explain to his friends that they're not LEGO. He already argues with his friends that Halo is made by Mega Bloks and not LEGO, there is a difference and LEGO is better. He doesn't stand down either. It's funny hearing him tell other kids they don't know what they're talking about.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby ka.lego » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:07 am

onions wrote:Competition for LEGO can only make LEGO better right? But even if it does do well, I'm not so sure I can actually purchase a clone brand.


Mr. Mandalorian wrote:I think there's a difference between competition and parasitism, onions.

I find the idea of a Transformers building set awesome. I really do. I don't care if it's Hasbro that makes it, and I don't even mind if they borrow one or two basic concepts from LEGO, such as the gripping system.

However, I find what they did appalling- they took a massive shortcut....

If this was an original line, I'd have full support. If they were quality plastic, I'd buy one or two....


Agreed...fully. Hasbro will do as it does, but it's hard not to see this is a lowest-common-denominator sort of "competitive" move. And one might argue that it's not "competition" as much as it is a "broadening" of the market...building toys that are "compatible with" and therefore support existing brands. Heh. I get it. It's all just Capitalism after all, and they're all in it to win it aka profit whenever and wherever they can. So in that context, it's as "permissible", albeit frustrating, as redesigning old Star Wars sets or making more male minifigs than female minifigs because "That's what sells!" But with all that said, maybe Hasbro's just bitter and taking lessons from their "competitors". I'm reminded of the G.I. Joe 3-3/4" vultures...

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[click for larger view]

Chief wrote:
GIR3691 wrote:Since Hasbro is ripping off LEGO's designs, it should be pretty easy for someone to make LEGO versions of these sets. *hint hint*

New community project? :)


GIR3691 wrote:
meeotch wrote:Best. Idea. Ever.

I'd be down for that. Since these models mainly use existing LEGO brick designs anyway, we can use them as a reference point for our own Transformers MOCs. It'll be our interpretation had this been done right (by which I mean official TLG sets, which will never happen). It sort of fits the site, which focuses on licensed themes. This almost qualifies anyway.


Thirded! (Or is that Forthed?) How subversively annoying would that be? How about a MOC contest where folks build Kre-o sets in Lego but improve them as KFOLs, TFOLs, and AFOLs tend to do? It would make a point, for sure. Ha.

In all serious, I have always wondered how much profit a company can make with moves like these. In this case, Hasbro's really banking on the Transformers license / brand to make it a no-brainer for Transformers fans. I'm sure they have teams of suits crunching the numbers and saying, "Sure it's not very creative and seems questionable in terms of copyright infringement, but we stand to gain $_________, all said and done, including any foreseeable lawsuits." I mean, those G.I. Joe knockoffs do it all the time. I'd venture (pun intended) to say they must make enough money to even bother. (It is a huge investment in time and $$$ after all, and companies as large as Hasbro don't seem to be into uncalculated risks.) Anyone with any insight?
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby Chief » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:16 am

I really really really like the idea of a community project or contest where fans remake these Kre-O sets with Lego.

Entry models could then be put up for ebay auction and the money donated to Hasbro's legal department. They're going to need it!
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby Draykov » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:21 am

Just don't buy any Kre-O as reference material. :)
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby Brickweiser » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:44 am

LL918 wrote:When someone first put a link to something about this Kre-O in one of the other threads a few days ago I raised the question about some of the newer parts being ripped off, and the possibility of litigation. I wonder if someone has given them legal advice that one open stud and one filled stud will negate a copyright claim on recent piece designs?


LEGO lost their trademark of the brick last year. Hasbro, smart or as out of ideas as they are, took advantage to replicate existing pieces. Believe Lego only owns the minifigure now.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby GIR3691 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:28 am

LL918 wrote:As for the double standards / hypocrisy of Hasbro stopping LEGO from doing 'action figure' vs Hasbro doing a building toy - the difference is - Hasbro / Kre-O is not doing Star Wars building toys. Unless the LEGO / Lucas film licence is about to end. (No I am not trying to cause panic. Of course a LEGO tie-in will be more profitable for George.)


Right. Hasbro raised a stink over their exclusive rights to make Star Wars action figures. They saw individually sold LEGO minifigures as a threat for some reason (though why Kubrick didn't get the same treatment is beyond me). They own the Transformers license, so they can do whatever they want. I guess they are legally in the right, but it is quite shallow of them to do this. It shows a complete lack of respect. It wouldn't be a problem that they made a building brick toy, since a lot of other competitors do that (even K-Nex has basic bricks in their sets). It's just crossing the line where they directly copy so many of LEGO's designs and try to pass them off as their own.

EDIT: As far as a community project, I call dibs on Optimus (Truck mode)!

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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby GrayMattR » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:01 pm

I realized there's another angle to the rip-off Hasbro is doing. In Latin creo means "I create." :facepalm: They just put a trendy spelling on the word.

Sure, LEGO lost the patent to the bricks last year but it's the curves and slopes and stuff that have come out in the last eight or so years that are ripped off that make me upset. If they made their own curves and slopes that were compatible, I would be fine with it. The plastic quality would still keep me from buying a set but I wouldn't have a reason to be upset.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby AbstractedIdeal » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:17 pm

J30spiff wrote:In regards to Hasbro and their Kre-O line, it makes me laugh that they're making a Transformers toy that doesn't transform. Come on now, they're going to have a mob of angry customers when they realize they spent money on non-transforming Transformers.

Kre-O wouldn't be the first non-transforming Transformers lines that Hasbro has offered.

I give you Hot Whee-- uh, Transformers RPMs!

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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby monkeyhand » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:36 am

[quote=staff]Will Kre-O be a legitimate threat to Lego's staggering billion dollar US sales or will it disappear as quickly as Built to Rule and countless other clones?


The only threat they will make is if they can severely undercut Lego's price. It keeps Megablocks in business but I dont see Hasbro doing so since it is using expensive licenses.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby Chief » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:50 am

But they're not severely undercutting Lego's price on this. The 568 piece Optimus model is 59.99. That might be better than some Star Wars prices, but not Lego's own lines. Just as an example:
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LEGO Toy Fair 2011 - Alien Conquest - 7066 Earth Defense HQ - 01 by fbtb, on Flickr

Now, let's say in an imaginary world, Lego somehow acquired the TF license. Would a 600-piece Optimus set cost $60? Oh heck no. $70 is more likely. But you know for whatever higher price it actually is, you're A) paying the licensing fee and B) getting higher quality pieces. Shoot, maybe Lego could even get them to transform.
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Re: Kre-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby Tyrant » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:16 pm

monkeyhand wrote:[quote=staff]Will Kre-O be a legitimate threat to Lego's staggering billion dollar US sales or will it disappear as quickly as Built to Rule and countless other clones?


The only threat they will make is if they can severely undercut Lego's price. It keeps Megablocks in business but I dont see Hasbro doing so since it is using expensive licenses.

Hasbro owns Transformers (and G.I.Joe, My Little Pony, everything made by Wizards of the Coast, and a whole lot of other licenses). They aren't licensing it from someone else, other people get the license from them or partner with them (like Paramount). I don't see why there would be a licensing fee for a Hasbro made product.
Chief wrote:Now, let's say in an imaginary world, Lego somehow acquired the TF license. Would a 600-piece Optimus set cost $60? Oh heck no. $70 is more likely. But you know for whatever higher price it actually is, you're A) paying the licensing fee and B) getting higher quality pieces. Shoot, maybe Lego could even get them to transform.

Yeah it is a shame that it is unlikely* that Hasbro would license one of it's properties to another toy company, especially one that it is now choosing to directly compete against.

*I have no idea if this kind of thing has happened in the past, so I don't want to say impossible, but I think it is quite unlikely. It is a shame because I think there is potential for LEGO sets of Transformers, G.I.Joe, and Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe even My Little Pony.
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Re: KRE-O and the Elephant in the Room

Postby legodavee123 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:08 pm

ranwanimator wrote:Hasbro [...] You dictate terms (indirectly) to LEGO that results in magnet figures being glued together because you don't want them infringing on your action figure base, yet you release an entire clone product that clearly infringes on parts and building methods developed by LEGO?


Honestly, I think LEGO is the one that ripped off Hasbro in this case. Hasbro paid good money to Lucasfilm for exclusive rights to produce Star Wars action figures, and yet LEGO was able to produce minifigures of Star Wars characters. Sure, they're "constructable", but they're clearly in violation of the spirit of the law there. LEGO made out like bandits by producing Star Wars figures, which are probably on par collectible-wise with the Hasbro figures. LEGO Star Wars is now a big brand on its own-- I expect Hasbro's kicking themselves for not haggling more with Lucasfilm over this.

BTW, has it been verified that the mandate for gluing magnets came from Hasbro? If so, what's the direct quote? I'm still disbelieving that rumor, since we're even seeing NON-licensed magnets getting glued.

Anyway, back to the Kre-O. I don't think it's shameless on Hasbro's part, any more than it's shameless on MegaBloks' part. They're both trying to get in on the action of licensed building brick themes, because it's been such a success with LEGO. Oh, and let's not forget Playmates' attempt with Intelli-Blox and their LOTR license. It's a free market, and they've tried to skirt the copyright issues with the elements as best as possible-- but that's par for the course.

That said, I don't think LEGO should be all too concerned with this one-- most kids that buy these probably won't care much about the quality issues. But they WILL care that their "Transformer" doesn't actually transform. And that means a bit less repeat business.

I'd guess that they'll do OK. But probably not well enough for Hasbro to keep much of a competitive brand going against LEGO in the long term. I'm guessing it'll be roughly similar in terms of success as the Halo license for MB. But I wouldn't bet on anything much more than that.

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