David Thomsen

Is Cuusoo too easily taken over by Rabid Fandoms?

123 posts in this topic

The Cuusoo projects that seem most likely to reach the 10,000 mark seem to based on particular fandom like Shaun of the Dead and Minecraft and most recently something called Eve Online, which all have large pre-existing fandoms to draw upon. I worry that this is a bad thing, since the person who is a fan of Minecraft might vote for the model without ever having any intention of purchasing the product, just because they're a fan of the game. On the other hand, something like the Modular Western Town is more likely to be popular with actual Lego fans than the Minecraft set, but is struggling for votes. I think every single person who votes for the Western Modular actually wants to spend money on it, so those votes have more weight than the ones for Minecraft.

Look at it this way. If Toyota let people vote on their next car design and they give us the choice between a practical sedan or a car shaped like a dinosaur, everyone on the internet is going to vote for the dinosaur car but very few people are actually ever seriously going to buy it. I think Minecraft is the dinosaur set of the Cuusoo range. A few serious Minecraft fans are going to buy it, and some AFOLS who see it as a good parts pack, but otherwise it is kind of blocky and ugly and specialised for a Lego set. Also, who on earth plays Minecraft any more?

I think there are two possible solutions to the problem. One, raise the voting requirement for sets if they are derived from pre-existing fictional worlds. Two, ask people who vote for the product to rank on a scale of one to five how likely they are to actually buy it.

I think the Shaun of the Dead set actually did a good job of appealing to both SOTD fans and Modular Building fans, but something like the Eve Online model means absolutely nothing to me.

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Well, I think the ambassadors should raise this issue! You make some very valid points!

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Short awnser: No.

My reasoning is this: (most) Lego fans don't buy everything of Lego, and Fans from things that would be licensed, don't buy all the merch. It is a given that a (rather large) percentage of the people who vote for any project won't buy the the final product. I voted for the Western Modular for example, but if it reaches 10.000, gets accepted, and the final product turns out to be something I don't like, or if i don't agree with the pricing, I won't buy it. There can also be of course be other reasons for not buying the final products, and no one can blame you for that.

I think it is wrong to think that voting for a product means: I will buy this if it gets accepted. I rather think it means this: I will CONSIDER buying it if it gets accepted. It is an important difference, and I think you need to consider the main reason someone votes for any product, which is: I want to see this made. A big problem is that since Lego does what they want for the final product, it is hard to really say you will buy it or not, I think a lot of the people that voted for the Minecraft project are just not going to care about a 40 euro set that is not remniscent of the game itself, or looks good as a collectible of sorts... And for your information, 5.5 million people bought the game, so yes, there are people that play it, I would think.

The comparison with the car does not make ANY sense to me, by the way, perhaps you can explain?

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I disagree. I think the whole point of CUUSOO is to identify NEW potential market for TLG. Which means you are NOT the target audience. TLG is very good at taking money from AFOL as it is. I doubt they need much help there. CUUSOO helps them to find new groups to sell lego to. That's why I never paid much attention to the whole CUUSOO thing.

What I think is a problem is that some of the CUUSOO projects are obviously not viable, like the Gundam project or the little pony project. No way you are going to get a license from another toy maker. And lego is going to waste a lot of time trying to get all the license.

Edited by lisqr

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I think there should be some ground rules set as to what can be possible and what can be made into a set. There are some fantasy projects on there that I think will never make it into sets due to not being able to get a contract set with the studio or company that makes the theme.

Minecraft was a bit different in my opinion. Minecraft (from my experience playing) is a niche game with no major name behind the company, thats why it was approved by Mojang so well. If Minecraft was made by, lets just say Activision for example, I do not think it would have been made into a set.

Also, lots of people still play Minecraft and it is growing more popular everyday, I see no problem with LEGO selling this set. I am buying one for sure.

Another example I can think about is either MLP or BTTF, I can see those never making it as sets because I do not see a contract with Hasbro (MLP) and Universal Studios (BTTF) possible at all.

I really like the idea of Cuusoo, I try to like Cuusoo, but I do not get my hopes up for some of the fantasy projects because they most likely will not get contracts or licenses.

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I agree wholeheartedly. The most popular items seem to be themed rubbish, like the successfully reached Minecraft, Shaun of the Dead, EVE. But there's many more that are attracting attention like Zelda, Back to the Future, Ghost in the Shell, My Little Pony, Firefly, even hype corp Apple. And these are just the ones on the most supported list.

The Japanese version of CUUSOO worked a charm, producing two very attractive sets of real world applications. But essentially, the internet is stupid, there will eventually be a time when too many themed creations have to be knocked back and the whole scheme is pulled.

I understand that the licenced themes make a lot of money for TLG, but they need to be chosen carefully. 10,000 supporters of a niche theme, not uncommon on the internet, will not equate to sales.

Don't forget to vote for my CUUSOO project!.. oh... wait... They pulled it because I wanted a rereleased part - how could fans possibly want that?

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Snip

Right, because people have a different opinion on what they want, they are stupid :hmpf:.

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It's unlikely The BBC will grant Lego a license to produce Dr. Who items while Character Options currently holds the master license for action figures and brick built toys. Lego i think have a responsibility to step in and tell people with Dr. Who projects they haven't a hope in hell.

Similarly i agree that other such projects should also be pruned when there's no chance Lego will be able to produce the project. With Minecraft the company who own it were backing the project so it was an easy ride. People like Universal, 20th C Fox, Warner Brothers aren't going to back projects based on movies unless they are current and already have massive PR programmes running.

There should also be different categories for one shot single set projects and projects that are basically creating a theme.

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I worry that this is a bad thing, since the person who is a fan of Minecraft might vote for the model without ever having any intention of purchasing the product, just because they're a fan of the game. On the other hand, something like the Modular Western Town is more likely to be popular with actual Lego fans than the Minecraft set, but is struggling for votes. I think every single person who votes for the Western Modular actually wants to spend money on it, so those votes have more weight than the ones for Minecraft...

I don't think this is anything to worry about at all. The voting is only the beginning of process. After that TLG takes over and I don't think it's going out on a limb to suggest they have a bit of experience at making decisions with regards to this kind of stuff. The issues you are rasing are not things that they are oblivious to and they almost certainly have more insight into these issues than you or I. That's not to say it's not possible for them to make mistakes, but as with any company they can just adapt the approval process as neccesary to compensate for them. The votes just sets a baseline for what will be considered rather than what will be made and they're in a far better position than anyone voting to make that decision.

That said I'm expecting the Minecraft set to sell really well! The Minecraft community may be a niche but it's a seriously big niche and Lego is a perfect it fit for the game.

I don't mind that there's stuff in Cussoo with no chance of ever being made. It's fun to see the designs and what people are voting for. Maybe they should just be a bit clearer about the approval process after that so people are more aware that 10000 votes means "We'll have a think and get back to you" rather than it means they are somehow commited to make it and any reason they choose not to is just an excuse, which is how a lot of people seem to react to the SotD news. Having a look at the site just now there was very little information about this process.

Even a disclaimer along the lines "basing your entry on a licensed property means it is a lot less likely to be made" or something. It's kind of stating the obvious though.

I disagree. I think the whole point of CUUSOO is to identify NEW potential market for TLG. Which means you are NOT the target audience. TLG is very good at taking money from AFOL as it is. I doubt they need much help there. CUUSOO helps them to find new groups to sell lego to.

That's actually a really good point and I'd never thought of it that way before. Lego already has a lot of channels through which the communicate with AFOLs and I think they have a pretty good handle on what they do or do not want at any given time.

Edited by Ash

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Short answer: Yes

Long Answer: This is open to public vote, hence it is open to overuse by any internet fandom. Sure, it's a great idea but the quality stuff takes a long time to aggregate votes while the flash-in-the pan designs related to anything with an internet based fandom will skyrocket under outside the fandom interests. There is false hope for lisences already owned by someone else (Doctor Who, MLP etc) and fans of the media (Minecraft etc) can come in and shoot the total up never to return to the site.

There was a little design contest once. On the internet, to create a Union Flag with something to represent Wales. Oh, sure there were sensible designs and common themes but then someone stuck a Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann logo to a JPEG of the Union Flag and the internet exploded and voted it top.

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but then someone stuck a Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann logo to a JPEG of the Union Flag

A what the who now? *huh*

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Odd, I generally agree with your thesis. I think the danger of the rabid fans inflating numbers may be real but on the question of the Minecraft set in particular, I think you may be off base.

I think the Minecraft set they have produced is appealing to both fans of the game and general LEGO fans as well because it is practically a creator-style bucket of basic parts. Whenever I am at displays with my LUG the #3 question (after how many pieces and how long did it take) is "Where can I get a bucket/bins/box of bricks?" My kids love Minecraft so I am probably in for 3 sets for them, but for me the sets look like a cool source of basic brick with a whimsical build of an 8-bit world. I may pick up one or more just for parts. I can see this selling well to adults looking for presents for kids.

That does contrast deeply with the Eve ship. No one in my family is familiar with the game and while the ship may be a great representation of something in the game to me it is nothing special. Lots of better looking, iconic Star Wars ships have been produced so the chances of me buying any are zero. The chance of any non-fans buying it: slim to none IMO.

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I think this article makes some very good points. At the end of the day I think Lego need to be strong as to which sets will actually sell, and which were simply voted on my fanboys, whilst staying true to their business model. The Western Modular set is still shy of 10,000 votes, despite being tonnes better than either the EVE thing or the SotD set. Says a lot about people on CUUSSO.

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You definitely make some good points. One I don't think would work is the 1-5 rating. Just like the fans of the material but not LEGO, they can lie. Sure, they voted a 5 without any intention to buy. It's like the current format, I don't remember the exact questions, but they ask how much would you be willing to pay and I believe how many. I too would like to see a different format for licensed products. The unlicensed projects(Wild West town) get overlooked in favor of licensed projects, IMO.

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Well, it was bound to happen, and it is a shame for all those great MOCs out there. Personally, I love loads of the "licensed" sets that people propose on Cuusoo, and i think that there's no way to remedy the fandom voting. But I wouldn't want to remedy it.

LEGO has made people who use Cuusoo for great original MOCs aware that it may take a while and a lot of work, so I'm fine with that, if at least SOME of those MOCs get 10K votes.

I don't like the EVE idea much, I'd much rather support the space marine theme idea. Not based on 40K. It will bring space back into LEGO's own themes which is nice. I also love the Western idea. If these projects got more gravitas then I wouldn't think it unlikely that they generate more support. Maybe it's just the people who make original MOCs, a licensed theme doesn't need much work to get it running, but an original MOC needs to be worked very hard on, maybe by advertising on literally every LEGO related website you can find, making Facebook pages, mentioning it on any social media and getting your friends to gather support.

It's not necessarily the fandom, Original MOCs just require a lot more work to get 10 000 supporters.

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Or at least review them before they are accepted to make sure that it is even worth going through the support process. I mean some licensed themes are just never going to happen, like a theme based on another toy competitor's product.

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I agree wholeheartedly. The most popular items seem to be themed rubbish, like the successfully reached Minecraft, Shaun of the Dead, EVE. But there's many more that are attracting attention like Zelda, Back to the Future, Ghost in the Shell, My Little Pony, Firefly, even hype corp Apple. And these are just the ones on the most supported list.

I'm sorry, rubbish?

Please share with us what your ideal, non rubbish Lego project should be.

If you don't like the project, don't vote for it. Same goes for not liking sets - Just don't buy them.

-Omi

Edited by Omicron

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I don't agree with your premise.

Replace rabid fandom of Eve Online with rabid fandom of Star Wars or LOTR or Pirates of the Carribean.

Edited by gotoAndLego

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I think CUUSOO really really needs a) better and stricter moderation and b)some sort of timelimit for a project. (About a 9 months to a year)

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I don't agree with your premise.

Replace rabid fandom of Eve Online with rabid fandom of Star Wars or LOTR or Pirates of the Carribean.

I agree with this guy.

-Omi

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*Snip*

Hammer >>> Nail head

It's true licensed products can be the some of the most interesting, but look at Modular Western Town, Space Marines, Labyrinth Marble Maze, etc. They're all utterly awesome models/theme ideas, but their rise to 10,000 is a crawl.

If you've seen how often Space Marines is getting updated, you're probably wondering why it takes so long to get to 10,000 supporters, it is an awesome idea.

The car comparison really squares it off, but it is a bit confusing, so I'll reiterate as best as I can - Toyota is selling a really good new car at a really good price, and they're currently testing out the market for it. But they're testing another car at the same time, it's also a really good car, but at a higher price and it's...different than the other. It's not what you would normally expect Toyota to release...it has a massive sponsor, whose logo is a dinosaur. The whole car is shaped like this dinosaur, so it's more of the type of car you would leave out in the driveway and display your love for this sponsoring company. The former car is more the type you would use like a normal car instead of a display model/oddball collector's item.

It would be very obvious which car passes this test first. But lo and behold, the dinosaur car passes the test, because every fan of the dinosaur company wants one. I mean, there's already a bunch of practical cars on the market, why make one more when you can have this badass car that looks like a dinosaur? So rather than random people just looking for a car, AKA the usual Toyota market, you have mobs of people looking for an awesome collector's item for the dinosaur company. Why not have Toyota make it? It's not a bad thing, not by a long shot...some of these dinosaur cars will sell. But it's catering to the dinosaur company fans, not the people who just want a really good car at a really good price.

Toyota considers it a success, and puts up another two cars up for testing before mass producing it....the first car from before, but now they have another sponsored car shaped like the sponsor company's logo, a giant chicken...

Looking back, that may be one of the most insane things I've ever typed in my life, so maybe I'll just try and summarize. :blush:

Cuusoo is going to get stuck in a loop if nothing changes. Licensed models are going to make it through because whatever license's fans are going to vote for it, not just LEGO fans. If it was left to just the LEGO fans, there's simply not enough people to reach 10,000 supporters. Naturally, most feasible licenses are going to get created because of the collector item's value....unless the MC Microworld completely bombs, in which case things are probably going to change in Cuusoo anyway. That's why I see Cuusoo in this way - it's not the universally perfect way to create new licenses and such. It's going to remain making one-off collector's items, because as long as it reaches 10,000 supporters and it sells, who cares who's buying it? That's not LEGO being ignorant, that's just hitting an entirely different target audience than LEGO would normally sell to.

*Snip*

Another awesome point. It makes perfect sense. If I knew Minecraft LEGO was going to end up like this, to be entirely honest? I wouldn't've voted for it. Your answer is pretty much based on the assumption that MC Microworld isn't going to sell if I'm reading right, a sentiment I can completely share. If that one set doesn't work out, I foresee a hell of a lot of changes to Cuusoo. And, well, if that happens, then I think what Cuusoo was made out to be will finally come to fruition.

But for now, Cuusoo is pretty much dependent on licenses and media to get a 10,000 votes. This does a lot - it keeps the number of models reaching the intended goal low, so there's not a huge number of disappointments. But it also weeds out every project that's not licensed, something that ruins half the point of what it's supposed to be. I think LEGO needs differing goals for licensed and unlicensed projects, otherwise we won't see a lot of fantastic original projects reach the goal they deserve to achieve.

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I stopped voting regularly on cuusoo because of rampant rise of fandom based models, linked to games and such like simply because the models have a short shelf life. But one maybe, but that's it. The models have to sell 100,000's just to be profitable.

One aspect mentioned in the Winchester thread is the voting demographics which we don't get to see. How long have you been a member? Did you vote only once or twice and never log on again? Do you vote for all models regardless of quality? These demographics will tell TLG much more than 10,000 votes for a specific fandom model. They can see trends... Perhaps 40% voting for the Winchester also voted for EVE, and all other licensed brands, but not on a true innovative moc. This would allow them to better profile who is voting and on what types of models, which is where the power of cuusoo works.

The Slowly crawling models are most likely to get made when they reach 10k simply because people voting are probably not following fandom craze which could be easily traced from the database. That is power of market analysis hidden in cookies!

Product managers have to listen to the loudest voices, but they would be foolish to blindly follow what is said without first listening to the doubters and getting a balanced opinion.

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I don't agree with your premise.

Replace rabid fandom of Eve Online with rabid fandom of Star Wars or LOTR or Pirates of the Carribean.

Agreed completely.

Many people may not know EVE Online, but just because it is not known to you, do not bash what could potentially be a great Sci-fi theme

Eve also has a very fanatical fanbase, I should know, I have played the game for over 6 years. It has something about it with its fans who will almost buy anything EVE related. I am sure that many many fans will buy EVE ships as their have been forum posts about why there are no models on their favourite ships.

Seeing as there are only 4 models available in the EVE shop out of Hundreds of in game ships, I honestly think these will sell well.

I also urge you to look at some of the ship designs from the game, There are some hideous ones, as well as some of the most beautiful ships I have seen. There is a huge potential here.

EVE is also expanding with Dust 514, a ground based shooter on the PS3 that is linked Real time to the PC MMO where the ships are piloted. There is further potential for ground based vehicles/buildings and troops here as well.

I also know that the EVE developers, CCP have been quite excited about possibly having their ships built in Lego, so licensing would surely be easy to obtain.In Fact CCP themselves have been helping promote Cuusoo and their EVE ship in order to try make it a reality.

The Rifter that was modeled may be a bit bland in terms of Lego's creativity standards, but remember that Lego will still take this apart and redesign it with their Engineers. What the final product turns out like may be very different.

If EVE ships came out, I would buy every one I could afford.

EVE wikipedia

Check this out

List of EVE ships with links to pics

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I don't really think so.

I think that the main reason why we are seeing a bunch of licensed stuff is that many Lego fans have a few licensed themes on their wish list, and they haven't had the opportunity to reach out to Lego in this way before. So, I expect that after a few of these projects get through, that should diminish.

I don't mind licensed projects. Cuusoo reflects what the people want. Besides, I think that Lego knows very clearly that not everyone who supports a project would buy the product. I think that's why they review the project.

I think that it's a matter of time before we get to see more non-licensed projects reach the amount of votes needed. :classic:

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