Thursday, July 18, 2013

Back to the Future is revealed officially, New Minecraft sets, and Lego Licensed Cuusoo Projects

Well, I still have my nose buried in work, site coding, and a variety of updates but I of course had to post on all the news right now.

Back to the Future...August 1st 2013

The Back to the Future set, leaked well in advance, is officially out there and to be released on August 1st.

photo courtesy of Brickset.com
Huw at Brickset has a fantastic and thorough review of the set and I really recommend you check it out

Minecraft the Series

Well, now they have gone and done it.  A Cuusoo project went from an idea, to a set, to a series.  On September 1st, Minecraft Village and Minecraft Nether will be released.

The fact still stands the Cuusoo is for producing a single set.  These are not Cuusoo sets but from Lego's standard line.  Cuusoo produced its single set, then the market spoke and what is said was "Give me more MINECRAFT!"

This will of course fuel the ever optimistic project creators that their idea will get turned into an ongoing series of Lego sets and they are absolutely right.

If you submit a project to Cuusoo that goes to 10,000 in a matter of days and sells out in hours when then yes, you can too can be the creator of a new line of Lego.  I wish you the best of luck accomplishing this herculean task. 

Now, there are of course some people out there who will claim that these sets look a lot like sets already proposed on Cuusoo.  To them I say, no, there are a lot of minecraft sets on Cuusoo that look a lot like the original Minecraft set.

There are, in my opinion, only three legitimate ways to "win" at Cuusoo: bring totally new content to the Lego company, prove a viable concept and market for an IP previously unrelated to Lego, or present pre-existing content in a new way.

Totally New Content

Granted no fan created content has passed the review yet but I believe that is just a matter of time.  The difficulty there is finding a market where it does not exist.  This is incredibly difficult for two reasons, 1) In order for Lego to produce a Cuusoo idea it needs to be sure people will go out and by it without s mult-million dollar campaign like Ninjago or Chima.  and 2) Lego is very good at what it does.  It has people who are looking at trends years in advance.  This is their job.  If there is room in the market for a concept, they will, ideally fill it  with a set or a series.  This is, of course, the issue that Space Troopers has to face as Lego ALSO saw the market well before and was developing Galaxy Squad.

So you need to produce an idea that people are so thrilled about that the market is obvious but novel enough that it is not coming down the line, on the market, or just getting off the market.


I am planning a big event to help out on this front in the next couple days so keep your eyes open. 

Existing IP, but new to Lego

This is currently the most successful, and will likely continue to be the most successful approach to getting your Cuusoo project produced.  The market is established and identifiable in these cases so there is little risk and advertising is easy.  The greater difficulties with this type of product are pre-existing licensee agreements, brand fit, contract negotiations, and timing.

All products to date have fit this model.

Present Pre-Existing Lego Licensed Content in a New Way

This is perhaps the most difficult of all but with the review results from the Sand Crawler, Cuusoo has pretty much reiterated their commitment to being open to this idea. 

Basically if you present pre-existing Lego licensed content in Lego's tried and true method of "Lego-izing" such content, then you are basically asking Lego to sell its model, with its brands, in its way, but to give you credit for it, and that is just not going to happen*.  This is true for the vast majority of Star Wars, Super Hero, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit  and Minecraft projects on Cuusoo.

If you want to produce existing licenses you need present it in a way that Lego has not done before.  Here is the litmus test:  If the project (however well or poorly executed) looks like something that that you would expect Lego to produced, then they already have that covered.  Every scene from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit has been reviewed for product already.  There is at least one UCS Star Wars Vehicle each year and a finite number of Star Wars vehicles.  They will eventually produce a UCS of every vehicle they think is worth producing.  They will eventually produce every mainstream Star Wars vehicle worth producing in minifig and midi scale.  In some cases they will do it again and again (Like the Tie Fighters).  Batman fighting a random member of his Rogues gallery is a given.   

So what is Novel then?  What is like-yet-unlike.  Here you go:

Star Wars: Lightsabres, Mico Vignettes, Brick Built Figures**

Super Heros: Brick Built Figures, Iron Man Arc Reactor, Super Hero Racers

Minecraft: ChickenMacrofigures

Lord of the Rings: Microbuilds


These are novel approaches to existing licenses and have a valid shot, in my opinion.  They don't look like anything Lego has produced with these properties.

* Now there is one exception I am willing to accept to all this and that is if you present an existing license, in the Lego "model" but somehow do it in such a way that grabs the attention of the fanbase to the extent that you get to 10000 in a relative blink of an eye...then Lego might accept that your idea is worthy of independent recognition, but I would not count on it.  This is in effect what I was attempting with the Corellian Defender.  At the time, Star Wars' expanded universe was relatively  untouched.  I was saying to them "hey, don't overlook SWOTOR" but it turns out they were not. 

** I really don't know if figures build with normal Lego could violate Hasbro's exclusivity license, the point of this article is that it is a novel approach to an existing license though and that is why I include it.

What was my point again?

Ok, so that was a meandering journey, and not one I expected to write about today, but the point is, I am not telling people not to post whatever they feel like (that Cuusoo accepts).  Who knows really?  But, of all the projects you can submit, submitting an existing Lego license in a very Lego like way, is probably not going to get you anywhere on Cuusoo and you certainly should not be surprised to see Lego produce very similar content as it is just a natural extension of what they do