Jeepers creepers: Minecraft teams up with Lego

Popular virtual world-maker announces biggest commercial partnership to date

Minecraft has become one of the most popular computer games ever, selling more than 54m copies on PCs, consoles, smartphones and tablets.

Minecraft has become one of the most popular computer games ever, selling more than 54m copies on PCs, consoles, smartphones and tablets.

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 18:57

Minecraft, one of the best-selling computer games, is teaming up with toymaker Lego in its biggest commercial partnership to date to release several sets this autumn based on its virtual world.

Many have compared Minecraft to a digital version of Lego in which players can build almost anything – from a replica of the country of Denmark to a ship – out of blocks.

The Danish toymaker has already released four Minecraft sets in micro scale, which uses smaller bricks and figures than normal Lego. But in a few months it will release a full range of Minecraft sets in its normal scale used in product lines such as Lego Star Wars and Harry Potter.

“Credit to Lego: they could see us as competition and not work with us but they’re basically just embracing it and putting a lot of effort into this project,” said Carl Manneh, chief executive of Mojang, the Swedish start-up behind Minecraft.

Minecraft has become one of the most popular computer games ever, selling more than 54m copies on PCs, consoles, smartphones and tablets. But unlike other recent gaming successes such as Rovio’s Angry Birds, Mojang has been cautious in forging partnerships or licensing its products. It recently announced there would be a Minecraft film shot by Warner Brothers, the studio behind the highly successful Lego Movie, with Mr Manneh saying it should be released in three to four years’ time.

Privately, some Lego executives lament not developing Minecraft themselves. But they have thrown their weight behind the project, allowing the sets to be developed with an unusual degree of collaboration from Minecraft players.

“One of the things that Lego did that was kind of unprecedented for them in their long history was to reach out to the community for feedback directly on how the characters should look,” said Vu Bui, Mojang’s chief operating officer.

Players helped decide the look of various characters including the violent Creepers as well as animals and objects such as a mine cart. Brian Eskilden, senior marketing manager at Lego, said: “There’s a lot of similarities between the two experiences being about building and being creative with blocks and it is amazing to see what Minecraft has done with the community aspect.”

Mr Bui said the sets could help reimbibe Lego with some of its original spirit of building lots of different things out of the bricks rather than the design of, say, a fire engine or car on the box. “What you want is for people to play with Lego the same way they play the game, just constantly tearing things down and rebuilding it,” he said, adding that the Minecraft sets would “encourage rebuilding”.

Financial Times