Lego Universe has run out of those skinny, flat, four-pronged pieces that are necessary to hold entire structures together, but that there never seem to be enough of in the Lego bin, probably because you lost them all and that's what happens when you don't take care of your things -- now go to time out and think about what you've done.

Lego Universe's problems actually run much deeper than missing pieces -- it's missing players. Since going free-to-play in August, "it has not been possible to convert a satisfactory number of players to paying subscribers," The Lego Group said. Lego Universe will officially close Jan. 31, 2012. Developer Play Well Studios in Louisville, Colorado, and the marketing division in Billund, Denmark, will be closed, affecting 115 people. We hope they'll be able to build new, better careers out of this.

LEGO® Universe to close in 2012

Online game will close on January 31, 2012. The LEGO Group's digital offerings will continue to develop over the coming years.

November 4, 2011 – The LEGO Group today announced that it will close LEGO® Universe, an MMOG (massively-multiplayer online game) that has been in operation since the autumn of 2010.

In spite of very positive player feedback and a large number of players in the free play zone, it has not been possible to convert a satisfactory number of players to paying subscribers. It has therefore been decided to close the game as of January 31, 2012.

"The LEGO Universe team can take pride in having developed and launched a great LEGO experience that many players will miss," said Jesper Vilstrup, Vice President, LEGO Universe. "Right now, we have almost 2 million players in LEGO Universe, and we get extremely positive feedback from players. Unfortunately, we have not been able to build a satisfactory revenue model in our target group, and therefore, have decided to close the game."

Despite the change, the ambition to develop and run a digital business remains. In future, it is the intention to further pursue cooperation with partners. The LEGO Group has a strong and continuing partnership with TT Games & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to create digital LEGO experiences within video games. A further expansion in the digital area will mainly be based on similar partnerships.

"The development of our digital offerings continues to be a very important element in our strategy," said Mads Nipper, Executive Vice President, LEGO Group. "We have more than 20 million visitors on www.LEGO.com every month, and LEGO video games are among the bestselling children's video games with sales of more than 60 million units in the last five years. Through our experience developing and running LEGO Universe, we have gained a lot of valuable insights, and we have a very strong foundation for future development in the digital area."

As a consequence of the closure, the LEGO Universe staff has today been informed that the 'Play Well Studios' in Louisville, Colorado and the game's marketing function in Billund, Denmark will be closed. This will affect 115 employees. All affected employees will be offered assistance in finding new jobs inside or outside the LEGO Group.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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