Lego David

Licensed Themes VS Original Themes

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Just wandering... Which type of theme so you prefer? Licensed Theme or Original Themes? Which do you think is better and why? Comment Below!

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1 hour ago, MAB said:

I prefer both.

But there has to be one you are more into then the other...

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18 minutes ago, Lego David said:

But there has to be one you are more into then the other...

He could like both equally, though to that end stating that he had no preference would make mores sense than saying he prefers both.

I personally tend to prefer original themes such as ninjago but I am still a fan of some lincensed themes such as Harry Potter and Superheroes, it probably depends on my mood, also if Doctor Who ever became a proper licensed theme than it would take the top spot.

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I prefer Original themes, unless you call TLM2 licensed, and even then I don't care too much for the DC characters or minidolls.

That doesn't mean I "hate" licensed sets or minidolls, I just don't collect them right now. 

Edited by TeriXeri

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Without question, original, in-house playthemes; but, not to mini-mod, I do think this discussion topic is better suited for the General LEGO Discussion subforum. :classic:

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42 minutes ago, Digger of Bricks said:

Without question, original, in-house playthemes; but, not to mini-mod, I do think this discussion topic is better suited for the General LEGO Discussion subforum. :classic:

Can a mod or someone move it there?

As for me, I am 100% for original themes. I have never been a fan of licensed themes, and considering how licensed themes have kinda started to take over original themes as for recently, I started to like Licensed Themes less and less to be honest.

Edited by Lego David

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2 hours ago, Lego David said:

But there has to be one you are more into then the other...

No, there isn't.

There are licensed themes that I love such as LOTR and Hobbit, some I find OK such as Star Wars, some where the minifigures are OK but not the sets such as Superheroes and some I don't really like at all, such as Minecraft, Angry Birds, etc.

There are also unlicensed themes I love such as Castle and Creator Expert, some I find OK such as City and some of in-house one-offs such as Monster Fighters and Alien Conquest, some where I like the minifigures and some I don't like at all.

I find it quite pointless to compare licensed sets to in-house sets. It is like comparing all green fruit to all red fruit. There is huge variety within each category. I like some of both and I don't like some of both.

 

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I generally prefer original themes, with the main exceptions being the Lego movie themes, which are technically licensed but are designed with a much greater level of input by Lego and its set designers than licenses based on non-Lego movies tend to be.

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1 hour ago, MAB said:

I find it quite pointless to compare licensed sets to in-house sets. It is like comparing all green fruit to all red fruit. There is huge variety within each category. I like some of both and I don't like some of both.

Agreed. Beyond that generic consensus the finer points can of course be discussed endlessly.

Mylenium

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6 hours ago, Digger of Bricks said:

Without question, original, in-house playthemes; but, not to mini-mod, I do think this discussion topic is better suited for the General LEGO Discussion subforum. :classic:

I could swear there is already a topic on this.

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3 hours ago, Mylenium said:

Agreed. Beyond that generic consensus the finer points can of course be discussed endlessly.

Mylenium

Yes, and more to the point I wouldn't want to lose either of them. It would be detrimental to the hobby to have no in-house sets just as it would be to have no licensed sets.

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17 minutes ago, MAB said:

Yes, and more to the point I wouldn't want to lose either of them. It would be detrimental to the hobby to have no in-house sets just as it would be to have no licensed sets.

Sure. Personally, though, I do have preferences when it comes to collecting. I might buy the one-off licensed set every now and again, but it’s been a long time since I collected a theme like Lego Star Wars with any regularity. Not that the quality isn’t as good—I’d trade my classic Lego Star Wars collection for some of the newer, better takes on the vehicles, figures, and settings in a heartbeat—but I just tend to prefer the more open-ended creativity I tend to see in the designs of sets in themes like Ninjago and Elves.

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24 minutes ago, Lyichir said:

Sure. Personally, though, I do have preferences when it comes to collecting. I might buy the one-off licensed set every now and again, but it’s been a long time since I collected a theme like Lego Star Wars with any regularity. Not that the quality isn’t as good—I’d trade my classic Lego Star Wars collection for some of the newer, better takes on the vehicles, figures, and settings in a heartbeat—but I just tend to prefer the more open-ended creativity I tend to see in the designs of sets in themes like Ninjago and Elves.

Yes, I understand there is more creativity in the overall designs when there are less constraints about source material, but then there is also creative use of parts to make sure something looks like the source material for licensed sets.  Then there is minifigure design. Although I like the traditional minifigures, I probably prefer the licensed ones more.

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For me, it's less about the theme than what they do with it.  Too often I think licensed themes give into the temptation to become excuses to sell (collectable/exclusive) mini-figures and less about the build or play features.  Particularly at the lower end of the price ranges, it seems like they always offer one or two cool figures bundled with just enough bricks to qualify as a "building toy" and not infringe on any "action figure" license some other toy maker might be holding.  This certainly doesn't _have to be_ the case (Star Wars, for example, has has some great models), but it feels like it happens a lot more with licensed themes than original ones.  

One of my litmus tests for a "good" set versus a "the build was an afterthought" one, is to build the kit without any mini-figures or stickers and see if what's left stands on its own.  From my experience, licensed theme kits fail this test far more often than original theme ones.  Take the knights out of Nexo-Knights, the Elves out of Elves, the pilots and robots out of Exo-Force and the Agents out of Ultra Agents and you're (usually) still left with cool vehicles, interesting buildings and a lot of open-ended play options.  Take the figures and stickers out of many low-end (by price) licensed sets and you're (too often) left with a wall or a shrubbery or some undersized generic bit of backdrop that makes you wonder, was this LOTR?, The Hobbit? POTC? Maybe Harry Potter?  Without the figure or custom printing, the set has no character of its own (at least not until you get to a higher price point).

I think original themes, particularly when they are just getting established and no one knows the characters or the storyline yet, have more "to prove" and probably get a sterner planning review cycle before getting release, whereas licensed stuff gets more of a "is it consistent with the brand?" box to check off.  This is purely a theory on my part based on anecdotal evidence and personal preference; I've found that the first wave or two of a new original theme usually has the highest percentage of sets that appeal to me compared to the first wave of a licensed theme or subsequent waves from an original theme that has grown very popular. When demand for a particular group of mini-figures goes up, it seems like lines get diluted to include cheap ways to get a favored character at the expense of a richer construction and open-ended play experience.  Again, this can happen with either original or licensed themes, but it _feels_ like it happens more with licensed stuff.

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58 minutes ago, ShaydDeGrai said:

For me, it's less about the theme than what they do with it.  Too often I think licensed themes give into the temptation to become excuses to sell (collectable/exclusive) mini-figures and less about the build or play features.  Particularly at the lower end of the price ranges, it seems like they always offer one or two cool figures bundled with just enough bricks to qualify as a "building toy" and not infringe on any "action figure" license some other toy maker might be holding.  This certainly doesn't _have to be_ the case (Star Wars, for example, has has some great models), but it feels like it happens a lot more with licensed themes than original ones.  

One of my litmus tests for a "good" set versus a "the build was an afterthought" one, is to build the kit without any mini-figures or stickers and see if what's left stands on its own.  From my experience, licensed theme kits fail this test far more often than original theme ones.  Take the knights out of Nexo-Knights, the Elves out of Elves, the pilots and robots out of Exo-Force and the Agents out of Ultra Agents and you're (usually) still left with cool vehicles, interesting buildings and a lot of open-ended play options.  Take the figures and stickers out of many low-end (by price) licensed sets and you're (too often) left with a wall or a shrubbery or some undersized generic bit of backdrop that makes you wonder, was this LOTR?, The Hobbit? POTC? Maybe Harry Potter?  Without the figure or custom printing, the set has no character of its own (at least not until you get to a higher price point).

I think original themes, particularly when they are just getting established and no one knows the characters or the storyline yet, have more "to prove" and probably get a sterner planning review cycle before getting release, whereas licensed stuff gets more of a "is it consistent with the brand?" box to check off.  This is purely a theory on my part based on anecdotal evidence and personal preference; I've found that the first wave or two of a new original theme usually has the highest percentage of sets that appeal to me compared to the first wave of a licensed theme or subsequent waves from an original theme that has grown very popular. When demand for a particular group of mini-figures goes up, it seems like lines get diluted to include cheap ways to get a favored character at the expense of a richer construction and open-ended play experience.  Again, this can happen with either original or licensed themes, but it _feels_ like it happens more with licensed stuff.

While I tend to prefer non-licensed themes like @Lyichir above, I’m not so sure I’d agree with this generalization. There are quite a lot of licensed sets that are quite distinctive even without figures or graphics… most Star Wars ships and speeders or Bat-vehicles, for example. And even with the sets that are more generic at face value, I can think of a lot of times I’ve read comments from people about how they intend to buy a set from some license they don’t care about (say, a SHIELD truck, a Black Panther jet, or a Bat-Mech of some sort), ditch any branded figures or stickers, and use it for their Agents or Space or Castle or Pirates layouts. The set’s genericness, in those cases, is in fact a big part of what makes it more palatable to those AFOLs than it would normally be by virtue of its licensed branding.

And as often as some folks like to moan about a particular licensed or even non-licensed set like https://brickset.com/sets/76103-1/Corvus-Glaive-Thresher-Attack or https://brickset.com/sets/70591-1/Kryptarium-Prison-Breakout being “just a facade” or “just a wall” or “just a gate”, quite a few classic non-licensed Castle or Pirates sets could more or less be described in the same way. If anything, disappointment with these sets tends to stem from how there aren’t many iconic blockbuster movie or action cartoon scenes that can possibly look as impressive at these sorts of price points as the source material does on-screen, so the sets at those price points typically wind up being extremely condensed versions of their subjects.

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I can think of plenty of small non-licensed sets that wouldn't be much without the minfigures too, things like:

60126-1.jpg?20151123071060127-1.jpg?2015111808047949-1.jpg?201005151203

 

Is this:

7187-1.jpg?201102211259

really any better than this:

9471-1.jpg?201203290349

 

There are many similarities between licensed and non-licensed sets.

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For my collection, I display licensed sets like Disney, while most  non licensed, Minecraft, or LEGO Movie goes to be sorted, and for my own creations.

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Original themes.  They don't have an IP licensing fee tax.  :pir-classic:

 

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I think that both licensed themes and original themes both have equal opportunity to be great. But for me, original themes have a bit more of an upward battle to fight. I am a fan of pop culture first and a fan of LEGO second, so the original themes I tend to collect are the ones that have longevity and/or have left an impact, like the Space/Pirate/Wild West themes, Bionicle, Ninjago and Minifigures. 

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I love both & they both have their hits & misses. For me, while I understand they sell, I’m really tired of the police/fire rotation in City sets. And the lack of variety in businesses. My city has a lot of pizza places...good thing the Ninja Turtles reside there. The latest big ticket City set is a very refreshing change however. But then there’s the Modulars, which more than make up for it. The old Creator houses were great...the newer ones, not so much. Kingdoms was a homerun. As were a lot of those “one & done” action themes like Pharaoh’s Quest, Alien Conquest, & Monster Fighters. 

Then with Licensed, I do enjoy the builds more often than not, but even then they aren’t always that great. Then they knock outs like Ultimate Bridge Battle or the Sanctum Santorum. And the entire range of the Batman Movie sets were fantastic. Star Wars, again understanding that they sell, is also getting me with the rotation. I would like to see more location sets instead of vehicles though. 

In the end I just want stuff for my tabletown. 

Edited by Vindicare

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I have mixed feelings. On the whole, I probably prefer original themes over licenses, since I often think about general concepts I would like to see in LEGO form, but there are only a few outside IPs I would like to see LEGO versions of. But obviously there are strength and weaknesses of both, in terms of both premise and execution. Being licensed for one or more LEGO sets can be seen as a form of validation for the source material, given both the prestige of the LEGO brand and its specificity--it's not just saying "This deserves to have toys made of it" (which it probably does already), but "This deserves to have elaborate, customizable toys made of it." On the downside, LEGO has been focusing awfully hard on its licensed themes for the past decade or more, potentially at the risk of boxing itself in since such themes tend to be limited to expressing specific scenes from (for example) a popular movie.

On the downside of original themes, lately they seem to run the risk of being either too generic (City, most iterations of Castle--note how many set concepts get rehashed every few years or so), or sometimes too quirky, like the theme is really straining to be distinctive.

So again: pros and cons of both.

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9 hours ago, ShaydDeGrai said:

For me, it's less about the theme than what they do with it.  Too often I think licensed themes give into the temptation to become excuses to sell (collectable/exclusive) mini-figures and less about the build or play features.  Particularly at the lower end of the price ranges, it seems like they always offer one or two cool figures bundled with just enough bricks to qualify as a "building toy" and not infringe on any "action figure" license some other toy maker might be holding.  This certainly doesn't _have to be_ the case (Star Wars, for example, has has some great models), but it feels like it happens a lot more with licensed themes than original ones.  

One of my litmus tests for a "good" set versus a "the build was an afterthought" one, is to build the kit without any mini-figures or stickers and see if what's left stands on its own.  From my experience, licensed theme kits fail this test far more often than original theme ones.  Take the knights out of Nexo-Knights, the Elves out of Elves, the pilots and robots out of Exo-Force and the Agents out of Ultra Agents and you're (usually) still left with cool vehicles, interesting buildings and a lot of open-ended play options.  Take the figures and stickers out of many low-end (by price) licensed sets and you're (too often) left with a wall or a shrubbery or some undersized generic bit of backdrop that makes you wonder, was this LOTR?, The Hobbit? POTC? Maybe Harry Potter?  Without the figure or custom printing, the set has no character of its own (at least not until you get to a higher price point).

I think original themes, particularly when they are just getting established and no one knows the characters or the storyline yet, have more "to prove" and probably get a sterner planning review cycle before getting release, whereas licensed stuff gets more of a "is it consistent with the brand?" box to check off.  This is purely a theory on my part based on anecdotal evidence and personal preference; I've found that the first wave or two of a new original theme usually has the highest percentage of sets that appeal to me compared to the first wave of a licensed theme or subsequent waves from an original theme that has grown very popular. When demand for a particular group of mini-figures goes up, it seems like lines get diluted to include cheap ways to get a favored character at the expense of a richer construction and open-ended play experience.  Again, this can happen with either original or licensed themes, but it _feels_ like it happens more with licensed stuff.

I 100% agree with this. Most small licensed sets are just a garbage build that a 10-year-old can build, and the only reason people buy them is because of the minifigures. Take the recent 30$ Star Wars Playsets: The build is nothing great and doesn't look great on display either. But it has some cool characters in a cheap set, so they sell very well. I have fallen in this trap with the Darth Vader Transformation set, which I thought was great, but it was actually not. I just got the minifigs and didn't care about the build. And now I regret the 30$ I payed for it, when with the exact same amount I could have ot something better. When you compare this with Original Themes, for the exact same price you get a cool vehicle/building that works perfectly fine without any minifigures. Take LEGO Racers for example. Most sets didn't have any minifigures, but the cars themselves were so amazing that they convinced me to try and collect them all.  

Just now, Karalora said:

LEGO has been focusing awfully hard on its licensed themes for the past decade or more, potentially at the risk of boxing itself in since such themes tend to be limited to expressing specific scenes from (for example) a popular movie.

This is the problem I have with licensed themes: LEGO has focused on them WAY TO MUCH in the past decade or so. If they continue this way, I can see them being in financial trouble in a few years.

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