Following close on the heels of the announcement about the closure of LEGO Universe at the beginning of 2012, The LEGO Group has just announced that the Design byMe program will also be closing in January.
Here’s the official announcement:
The LEGO Group is closing that part of the Design byMe customization service that allows consumers to order digital models in real bricks. We will be accepting orders until January 16, 2012.
Consumers will still be able to design what they want with LEGO Digital Designer and upload models into a public gallery as before. All existing models will be transferred to a new gallery on the LDD website. Consumers will also be able to download the instructions generated from LEGO Digital Designer.
The HERO Recon Team Hero Creator will be unchanged and consumers will still be able to build and buy their own customized Hero. Bricks can be bought separately, using the Pick a Brick service http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Pick-A-Brick-ByTheme.
This is not the end of customization for the LEGO Group, but a revision. We believe in the future of customization, but the service we offer has to be right for our consumers and Design byME has proven to be too complex for children.
The original Design byMe vision was for a unique customization service, where consumers could design whatever they imagined, display it and get the model sent to in their own LEGO box. Design byMe as a concept attracts several million people each year to build a huge range of amazing creations using the LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) software. Despite this success, the overall Design byMe experience has struggled to live up to the quality standards for a LEGO service.
Over the years, we have also added other simpler customized building experiences like Hero Recon Team. However, the overall Design byMe experience has struggled to live up to the quality standards for a LEGO service. The feedback from Design byMe users has taught us that we would need to rebuild the entire setup of Design byMe to fix this. This would only make the service too expensive.
This is a disappointing surprise. I really liked the idea of a fully customized self-designed Lego set in a box of its own.
Sure, it is a complicated process, but was it really intended for children?
I wonder if the astronomical prices had anything to do with its ultimate demise. Such a shame really, it was a fantastic idea let down by daylight robbery (imo).
Paul: Of course it was intended for Children, as great as the TFOL/AFOL community is, we are the minority when it comes to everyone that buys LEGO.
At Least LDD is sticking around.
The high prices were the cost of labor to fill the orders, not price gouging. There simply wasn’t a cost effective way to hand sort custom orders, and to create an automated infrastructure to custom pack Design by Me orders would have been hugely expensive too.
Ultimately though, I think this is debatably for the best. Having LEGO cut some programs that were not performing for them, is smart and economical. While it was a terrific idea, the price discouraged me from using it, as I am sure it did for many others.
That’s a bit sad. Although if they’re keeping LDD in development I suspect we’ll see a ‘order parts from PaB’ option soon. I suspect that the problem was more to do with the cost of dealing with complaints and queries about it. If you simply offer people a way to design a model in CAD and order parts they will expect less from the service.
Big Bricklink sellers seem to be able to make a profit from picking orders, which is basically the same
That’s a bummer. For my first true MOC’s out of my dark-age, I used LDD to design and buy… but that was before they adjusted the pricing (and I got savy to Bricklink). Glad they will still keep LDD around. I still think LDD could be useful for revenue if they implement a “try before you buy” feature. Let kids play and build with new sets virtually to see how much they can ‘control the action’.
idk all the details involved in tlg’s pricing scheme, but to be fair, in addition to hand picking the parts, they printed box art and re-engineered printed instructions, in the event the children forgot how to build their creations. the printing probably cost more than the hand-picking of parts, cuz they used the same quality paper that comes in the actual sets. and how often does bricklink send a box with artwork on it depicting the model those parts build?
maybe if they left those as chooseable options…yeah, I’d still go with bricklink
Funny how Bricklink is on the tip of everyones mind for moc parts.
Maybe TLG could link up with Bricklink and outsource the “order parts” part of the process. (With LDD as the link)
Honestly Lego, I believe this is your downfall, and I’m very sad to say that. However, it’s been a long time coming. Your prices have skyrocketed dramatically, and this is a surprise to me because we are in a terrible economy and you have made more sets in 2011 than any other year before. You’re closing Lego Universe,and that was supposed to be all the rage. I will stil buy from you, but I don’t know how many others have just lost the faith.