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Mass customization and personalization news
The Lego Digital Designer (LDD) which can be downloaded from the LEGO Factory website
2005-09-01 - Enfield, Conn, USA: The long established toy company LEGO has unveiled the LEGO Factory in the U.S. market. The LEGO Factory combines technology, mass customization and community, to enhance and build relevance for its classic toy offering.
The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high quality, creatively educational play materials for children, employing approximately 6,000 people globally. LEGO is using the LEGO Factory as a way of celebrating the 50th anniversary of its System of Play. Children of all ages can visit www.LEGOFactory.com to design, share and purchase custom models.
LEGO Factory is powered by LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) - a proprietary virtual building program available as a free download for PC and MAC users. Drawing upon a virtual warehouse of bricks and elements, children can design 3-D models just like professional LEGO Model Designers. Factory models are micro scale -- smaller than traditional LEGO minifigure proportion (roughly 1:50 life-size) found at retail -- but still provide precise detail and functionality.
LEGO Factory sets arrive in custom packaging that shows a child's model and name, and include all of the LEGO elements needed to build the virtual design in physical form. Every customized LEGO Factory creation will have a unique price dictated by the size of the model and elements used. Custom models will take from 48 hours to a week to arrive, depending on which shipment method consumers choose.
LEGO Factory is also designed to create a community of builders who share their virtual creations with consumers around the world. Children can view other builders' custom creations, add and remove bricks, rotate the 3D view and zoom in on the details, download the building instructions to build from their existing LEGO collection, or even purchase someone else's model for themselves.
"Giving children access to a virtual warehouse of LEGO elements to design their own models is a fantastic extension of everything the LEGO System of Play represents and has provided for the last half century, and marks a rare opportunity for true mass customization and community in today's toy market," says Mark Hansen, director, LEGO Interactive Experiences. "With LEGO Factory we can expand beyond our 100 in-house product designers to marvel at the creativity of more than 300,000 designers worldwide."
During its Beta phase, LEGO Group sponsored a contest to better understand the types of models that consumers would design using LDD. The contest lasted for 11 weeks and 8,000 models were custom designed. Ten models were voted by consumers and LEGO Master Model Builders to become real LEGO sets available exclusively through the company's Shop-at-Home division. Contest winners, whose ages ranged from 9 to 38, will receive royalties based on sales of their winning designs. For more information on these winning designs visit http://www.lego.com/eng/factory/design/bios.asp .
"It's only fitting as we celebrate 50 years of a classic play pattern in an increasingly electronic toy world that we elevate the experience of building what you imagine by blending the best of both the virtual and physical worlds of play," says Soren Torp Laursen, president, LEGO Systems. "We look deep into our compatible system of play to reinvent ourselves year on year, and we only incorporate technology where meaningful and complimentary to the core LEGO building experience."