Thursday, November 29, 2012

Support the Marines

Space Marines vs The Review Deadline!

Update: Space Marines Achieved
The number one project on Cuusoo right now is "Space Marines."  Will it get to 10k, Yes of course, no question.  So why am I wasting your time talking about it instead of some overlooked gem, like the Calamity Jane 2 (see what I did there).  The reason is that the current review deadline is this Monday.
Any project that does not reach 10k by Monday will have to wait three more months to even start the review process.

Space Marines accrued 179 votes last week, second only to Female Minifig Set.  Unfortunately Space Marines needs to get that many votes in the next four days to beat the deadline.

So, if you have been to Cuusoo you have probably already voted for Space Marines or CHOSEN not too.

For those of you who decided not to, please reconsider.  These guys are definitely going to get there, it is simply a question of how many days.

If a simple argument for pushing up the review date does not work on you...I have got a few more to throw your direction:

Vote for the project as a thank you to Nick Royer for his contribution to the Lego Community.  You might not know this but Nick has made his minifig models freely available.  That's a really cool blender model!  All you need to do is learn how to use Blender...

Or Vote as a favor to your fellow Lego fans.  9800 of your compatriots want this to get reviewed.  Be a pal and toss the project a vote.  It will only take a few minutes...maybe 30 seconds given you already have an account, but it could shave 3 months off their wait.

Its chances?

In the absence of Galaxy Patrol, a Space Marines Cuusoo product would have been a sure thing.
There is no pre-existing IP, there is no concern about Brand Fit or Licensing.  Is there a market?  Lego has known for decades that Lego and Sci-Fi Space are an awesome combination and will sell.  The fact of the times though is that Galaxy Patrol DOES exist.  Galaxy Patrol is a very similar concept.  Similar enough that it they are "substitutes" and no company wants to compete against itself with substitutes.  What does this mean for Space Marines?

Well, this will only be the second totally original project to reach 10k.  Lego cannot ignore such an accomplishment completely, so I think they will release something.  However, given that Galaxy Patrol will either be in full swing or perhaps even concluding by the time this gets produced, the market will be saturated and the masses will not be clamoring for more combat ready space Lego, so the resulting set will probably be one of the more conservative vehicles presented in the project.
As for the Ugokins, their fabrication is unlikely, at least as they are presented.  Lego representatives have made it clear that it is unlikely that even one new part will be produced for Cuusoo sets and the  Ugokins require at least two, arguably three.  We may get some hybrid though...anyting with four legs would make me ecstatic but chances are low.
Then again, there have only ever been three Cuusoo products ever made so there is not much of a foundation for any of this speculation to stand on.

On the subject of Reviews....

What is taking the Review process so Long?

So, I often hear people commenting on how long the review is taking.  If you look at the summary of the Review process, the steps that the Lego Group has control over take no more than 8 weeks.  Lego cannot however predict or control the amount of time that Licensing agreements take.

Usually people are not privy to this aspect of product creation.  This all happens behind the hushed veils of NDAs and only after the dust is settled do product lines get announced.  Star Wars came out in 1977 and the first Star Wars Lego set was 1999.  Who knows how long that negotiation took?

Working out contracts can take forever and Licensing situations can get really crazy.  Eve online openly supported the project so in all likelihood they are on board even if they haggled for a while.  Zelda is a bit of an unknown quantity.  Perhaps Nintendo is negotiating towards a product that will line up with a 2014 Zelda Wii U release.  The largest possible issue however is Back to the Future.  I have no idea what the original or existing licenses are but looking at the set there are many potential players in this negotiation.

The two obvious players are the Lego Group and the owners of Back to the Future, Universal Studios.  Then there is Marty and Doc, who are played by Michael J.Fox and Christopher Lloyd.  Actors get paid for their likenesses.  What were their original contracts with Universal? Do they apply to minifigs?  Do they get a cut?  I am sure their Lawyers would want to argue that they do.  Then there is the DeLorean...Does John DeLorean (or whoever owns the likeness of the DeLorean) get a cut?  Even beyond that is the Logo!  John DeLorean sold the DMC logo to Stephen Wynne, who has an aftermarket DeLorean company...so does he get a cut too?  So, that is at least six possible chairs at the negotiating table.  Everyone with a stake in the game, or the lawyers to make the argument that they do, have to come to a resolution and that could take...well months.

Ultimately the length of time it takes for these negotiations to get done show the Lego Groups dedication to getting these projects for the fans.  If the Lego Group wasn't they could just walk away from the negotiating table and we would have our answers already.  In the meantime there are plenty of great sets to keep us happy while we wait, like those new Hobbit ones.