Toy company LEGO Group and video games developer Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, are partnering to build a metaverse application. The digital experience will enable kids to virtually build infrastructures with lego-like pieces and play using an avatar in the spaces they create.
The concept of the metaverse, similar to video games, is at first glance very enticing to children: a virtual engagingly designed world where they can explore interests and creativity without physically leaving their parents’ safe keeping. Roblox has been phenomenally successful in this niche, attracting more than 20 million daily active users.
However, the niche is not without its risks, with the potential for strangers to pose as children. LEGO and Epic’s partnership acknowledges these issues and takes steps towards a safe and entertaining metaverse for children. For one, at least for now, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will not be part of the product. More importantly, both companies have agreed on management principles that prioritize children’s well-being and privacy.
“Kids enjoy playing in digital and physical worlds and move seamlessly between the two. We believe there is huge potential for them to develop life-long skills such as creativity, collaboration and communication through digital experiences,” said LEGO’s CEO Niels Christiansen. “But we have a responsibility to make them safe, inspiring and beneficial for all. Just as we’ve protected children’s rights to safe physical play for generations, we are committed to doing the same for digital play.”
Epic has experience in creating age-appropriate experiences online. In 2020, the company acquired SuperAwesome, which includes technology designed to deliver safe digital engagement for children under 16. As for LEGO, it developed the industry-standard Digital Child Safety Policy with UNICEF and, in 2016, launched a fully live moderated social app for children.
Meanwhile, Epic is the publisher of Fortnite, one of the most successful MMO games, which according to PlayerCounter has over 3 million concurrent active players at any one time. On a daily basis, that amounts to an average of 24 million users. Regarding blockchain and crypto, the video game company mentioned it welcomes crypto games conceptually but had no plans to launch one itself as of October last year. As the LEGO metaverse is directed at children, there’s a likelihood it will maintain this position.