Lego have been busy finding new ways to attract new audiences, such as partnering with Muji to launch a paper Lego set, and working with fans of Minecraft, to create a new model based on the game. The most interesting for me though is Life of George; a Lego set that you play using an iPhone. The box contains 144 bricks and a piece of patterned cardboard that is used by the app to identify your creations.
The iPhone app contains a number of challenges to build an object within a certain time limit. Once assembled, you place the object on the cardboard and then take a photo to win points and unlock further objects to build. There is also a two player game and an option to create albums of your own objects that you can catalogue and share your creations. To see how it works check out the video on YouTube.
It’s encouraging that a company that has such a heritage and legacy are able to experiment and explore how they can evolve their products and introduce new ways to experience Lego. It feels innovative because it adds a new dynamic but doesn’t change the fundamental aspect of what people enjoy about Lego , that it’s creative, imaginative and tactile.
Life of George get’s the relationship between physical and digital play just right and it feels like Lego are uniquely placed. Their physical products are still in demand and are compelling for kids, they don’t have the same issues as the music or publishing industry where the pendulum has swung strongly in favour of digital products and distribution. Personally I think that the tactile nature of toys and books is hugely important for children but it’s inevitable that kids wil get exposed to and be curious about digital tech early on in their lives especially with their mum’s and dad’s using phones and computers in front of them. What Life of George shows is that technology can allow for new physical experiences without getting in the way.