What if LEGO took some inspiration from Pokémon GO?

We have created a concept of a mobile augmented-reality game for LEGO®. If done right, we believe it could follow Pokémon GO’s success. And if you work at LEGO we want to pitch it to you :)

This really poor photoshop job is my vision of an alternate LEGO reality at the center of Warsaw, Poland

Last summer there was a really incredible Pokémon GO craze. Whatever you went people were playing the game and catching Pokémons.

For us, digital designers, it was really interesting to observe such a phenomenon: whole groups of people at Warsaw office district (called humorously “Mordor”) wandering around with noses in their phones, and gathering around Pokéstops on their way to lunch.

Pokémon GO players at Pokéstop at Warsaw office district

Many clients asked us if we could put some Pikachus at their stores or even at bank branches! Someone created a Pokémon GO channel on our company’s Slack to share tips how to catch those little critters.

And then the craze was over. After a while there was not a lot to do in the game and for many players it quickly became boring.

Still the numbers were incredible:

  • Pokémon GO was the fastest game ever to hit $500M in revenue
  • On track to hit $1 billion by the end of 2016
  • 45 million users in under two weeks

There were many AR — location based games before, but none so successful. What were the reasons behind Pokémon GO’s success?

  • Variety of characters
  • Pleasure of collecting
  • Randomness & suprise
  • Social interaction
  • And last but not least: power of the brand

Without those little monsters, Pokémons, I don’t think the game would be ever so successful.

We asked ourselves a question: can this phenomenon be repeated? To do a successful game like this you will need a really powerful brand. 
And there is no cooler brand in the world than LEGO.

So we brainstormed a little and we came up with a concept of an augmented reality location based game for LEGO.

Introducing our concept of the LEGO mobile game

The basic mechanics of the game are really simple:

  • You’re collecting, crafting, and trading virtual LEGO bricks.
  • You can start a new virtual construction on an empty building site on a real world map.
  • Other people can participate in your construction and you can help to build other players’ buildings.
  • Owner of the property is managing the construction.
  • The buildings in the neighborhood are presented as 3D models in augmented reality or virtual reality view. Traveling through a city or countryside you can view the virtual LEGO-version of it on your phone.

We put a grid over the map. One square is a basic building site corresponding to a certain number of LEGO bricks. You can build everywhere, except on roads, existing buildings and water.

The bricks are up-scaled, i.e. minifig will be 170 cm tall in augmented reality view.

Actually there are some issues with the AR view…

Without the 3D models of the real buildings we can only render VR 
buildings in direct sight (#1), and cannot show VR buildings behind a real buildings (#2). But it’s not a big problem and we could always use VR (which may be even better anyway).

The process of building

This is a tried formula: 3D isometric view with the ability to rotate the camera (and bricks).

How do you get the bricks?

  • You’re producing them at the factory. Which is powered by walking — the more you walk the more bricks you can produce.
  • You can find bricks on the map (they appear randomly).
  • You can exchange bricks with other players.
  • Through an in-app purchases.

What is most important is the social interaction

  • You are collaborating with other players in your neighborhood building a virtual version of it together. There is no direct competition in the game, only collaboration.
  • You can vote for the best buildings, which will be shown in the “Hall of Fame” gallery.
  • As an owner of the property you can give instructions for a building to other players.
  • You can trade and donate bricks.

This of course needs to be safe for kids and anonymous. LEGO recently built a social network app called LEGO Life, so it is definitely possible.

We had many other ideas, but for now it’s enough, so…

What do you think about our concept for a mobile LEGO game?

Do you like it? Would you want to play it? I would! We think both kids and adults would find it interesting.

LEGO made a lot of digital games. Their most ambitious recent project is LEGO Worlds, which is something like a LEGO Minecraft. On a surface level it may look similar to our concept, but mixed reality — building virtual constructions in a real physical space is what makes our idea special. LEGO never had a really killer mobile game. But they should.

We had a nice chat about our concept with LEGO Poland, but they don’t decide on stuff like this. And so far we were unable to reach important people at LEGO’s HQ. If you work at LEGO and want to know more about our concept we would love to talk with you! Please contact me at: maciej.lipiec@k2.pl (Also if you work at TT Games/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, or at Niantic, or are a mobile games developer! :) Thanks!

K2 Internet is a leading digital product design and communications agency in Poland. We develop digital services, apps and websites with a strong focus on user experience. We have a pleasure of working with the most amazing companies such as CD Projekt RED, Netflix, IKEA, and many more.

Thank you! If you enjoyed reading this, please 👏👏👏 and share! :)