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Reference no. IMD-7-1924
Published by:
IMD (2017)
Revision date:
20 pages
Data source:
Field research


The 'LEGO in the Age of Digitization' case is in two parts. Part A provides an opportunity to follow the developments of the LEGO Group in the digital gaming arena. It focuses on the 'failure' of LEGO Universe, the LEGO Group's first Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG), versus the success of Minecraft, launched by the start-up Mojang. The LEGO Group followed the traditional waterfall process of sequential phases: design, development, testing and commercialization. The company experienced the issues of partnering with a development studio located in Colorado, far away from the Lego Group's HQ. That caused problems in aligning on the image, branding and safety of the game versus the LEGO Group's values and selling proposition. After years of development, LEGO Universe was finally launched in 2010, but failed to meet the Group's ambition for it to become a second core business. By the end of 2011, a decision had to be made on whether to continue LEGO Universe or to close it. In contrast, Minecraft followed a very different development pattern that could be described as agile, where early users did testing and provided ideas for further development. In addition, the start-up followed a more usual digital pricing scheme of initial low price and add-on purchases. The success of Minecraft is even more in contrast to LEGO Universe because both development projects started around the same time, building on a very similar gaming concept and user experience, but with very different means and development approaches.


Strategy; Marketing; Digital transformation; Information technology; Game; Agility; Partnership; Intrapreneur


The events covered by this item took place in 1996-2017 with a focus on 2008-2012.

Geographical setting


Featured company

Company name:
LEGO Group (The)
DKK 37,9 billion
Consumer Goods;Toys and Games

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