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Lego Mindstorms: What Went Wrong? 278

Posted by Hemos
from the at-least-they-aren't-stolen dept.
latif writes "In recent years, Lego Mindstorms has generated more media buzz for Lego than all of its other product lines combined, but surprisingly, Mindstorms seem to be out of favor at Lego. The Mindstorms line has been cut down to a single set and Lego is not interested in marketing even that set. Lego has been in a lot of financial trouble in recent times and its neglect of a product line with solid sales potential might seem odd but this is not so. I have done an analysis of Lego's Mindstorms options and my analysis indicates that Lego has solid economic reasons for backing away from the Mindstorms line."
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Lego Mindstorms: What Went Wrong?

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  • by dieman (4814) on Monday November 28, 2005 @12:30AM (#14126889) Homepage
    Yeah, target has them for $5 off (25% off) per tub this week, we grabbed three. Quatro, Duplo, and original LEGO. :)
    Look here [target.com]
    We ended up with all limited edition 50th anniversary tubs, too!
  • by rasper99 (247555) on Monday November 28, 2005 @12:41AM (#14126929)
    Then there is always the having good software issue...

    Two guy I work with have a kids who are involved with other 4th and 5th graders doing a club thing with Mindstorms. One guy had me redo an unused five year old laptop from Win2K (which it came with) down to Win98. This is because he heard the software (even the newer version) works best under Win98. Most of my web searches seemed to confirm this information.

    If it doesn't work well under XP, which comes on almost every new PC, you aren't going to get a lot of good "word of mouth" advertising.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:17AM (#14127061)
    I tried to find one of those same sets for my children. Unfortunately, they are all small, specialized kits.

    Huh? They still sell generic sets. Fry's recently had a huge wall of them for ~$20 per box. All bricks, no special parts.
  • by Psykechan (255694) on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:28AM (#14127090)
    There are some great sets that Lego still makes.

    The Designer [lego.com] series is top notch and a current favorite of mine. Sure there are some custom pieces here and there but the majority are hinges and cosmetic blocks that can be used in many interesting ways. The models are great too; I've got a T-rex by my monitor at work and a (sadly discontinued) crab sitting on my system at home.

    The Technic [lego.com] series is still going strong from the eighties. What's not to like?

    The City [lego.com] is like the LegoLand sets of old that you probably remember. There are a few other lines that are in the same vein but those little yellow people don't interest me as much as they did when I was a child.

    And the new Factory [lego.com] series are designed by fans. I'm strongly recommending that you check them out.

    Lego is a for profit company and will continue to manufacture what sells. Licensed products like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Dora the Explorer are making them money so they will continue to make them. They have had moderate success with their annoying Bionicle line so it is still being added to. All is not lost yet; Lego is still making some decent and interesting products, so go out and support those.

    P.S. You can also get buckets of regular blocks. Think about that the next time you want to buy that Star Destroyer.
  • by freedom_india (780002) on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:08AM (#14127303) Homepage Journal
    I bought a Mindstorm when i was in Sydney (2000). Although it is solid and still works, the fact is that there is only a certain amount of things you can build with it.
    The RCX is too bulky and heavy to build smaller nimbler things.

    Maybe the RCX as both the brain and brawn was wrong.
     
  • by aywwts4 (610966) on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:52AM (#14127379)
    To Parent and Grandparent:

    http://shop.lego.com/product.asp?p=4496&CMP=AFC- FROOGLE&HQS=4496

    1000 peice lego tub (Of the generic non specific peices) for 20 Dollars

    A use your own imagination set at the cost of two pennies per peice. Not friggin bad, Cheaper than a ton of toys kids might play with for a few hours then get tired of/break/batteries run out/annoys the parents so the batteries DO run out :D
  • by inferis (84322) on Monday November 28, 2005 @06:58AM (#14127745) Homepage
    Additionally, Lego requires parents (warning: shocking news ahead) to actually spend time with their children (*gasp*) to learn them how to build stuff. I spend hours on myself playing with Legos once my dad spent a lot of time showing me how to build stuff...

    A lot of parents don't have time for that anymore, which explains why an Xbox is so much more popular than a set of Legos.

    It's all the fault of consumerism, I tell ya!
  • by dr_canak (593415) on Monday November 28, 2005 @07:03AM (#14127756)
    Exactly,

    The parent is right. In fact, to describe their tolerance as "narrow" is understating things. A lego piece made 30 years ago fits perfectly with a piece coming off the line today. I've bought 10,000's of legos over the years (basic, old school technic from the 80's, Mindstorm, etc...) and never once have I seen a piece that didn't work. And not only do they fit and work, but they fit tight and stay together despite a fair amount of abuse. Try any of the other block building toys out there and there is no competition. To me, the level of quality control is actually mind boggling. And the more I think about it, I can't think of any product out there that (as far as I'm concerned) is 100% guaranteed to work, the first time out, for the rest of my life or the life of productm whichever comes first.

    jeff

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