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'Lego Minifigures Online' Will Sell Digital Toys For MORE Than Plastic Ones

15/07/2014 10:03 BST | Updated 15/07/2014 10:59 BST

The good news is that Lego is finally doing the sensible thing, and taking on Skylanders and Disney Infinity at their own game by making a large-scale, expandable video game that blends real and digital toys.

The bad news? The price.

According to this preview by Wired, Lego is turning to the controversial in-app purchase model for its new title and (as usual) it will be parents and 'enthusiast' adult players footing the bill.

The game itself is essentially a massive open virtual world. Players take the role of a Minifig and run around interacting with other players and solving tasks together. For this you'll pay a subscription - £5.99 for a month, £29.99 for 6 months and £44.99 for a year.

But you'll also need to start (or rather end up obsessed with) collecting new Minifigs to play as and with. For this you need 'Diamonds', an in-game currency which you accrue slowly as you play, or can pay extra to obtain immediately.

And here's the rub: £3.99 buys you 1250 diamonds. A minifig 'pack' (ripped open in-game just like the physical ones) costs 750 diamonds. So a digital minifig costs £2.40, or more than the current price on Amazon for a Simpsons-series Minifig and only slightly less than the standard £2.49 a new minifig costs.

funcom

Lego (and makers of the game Funcom) will counter that players aren't forced to pay the extra for the minifigs - and that you can also buy them for reduced cost in bulk.

But for parents signing up for the game, it's worth being aware that right now you'll end up forking out almost as much for digital Lego toys and real ones.

Luckily there may be a silverlining on the way. Lego wants to add codes to its future minifig toys that will let players unlock the digital character once they've purchased the real one. That sounds like an obvious win, and only fair enough once you've paid for a subscription. But right now it's hard to see how the sums add up for parents.

The game, which is currently in PC-only Beta, will be arriving on tablets later in the year.