DailyDirt: Modern Toys, Not Just For Boys

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

There are a lot of new toys out for this holiday season. There's still some time to shop for some cool toys, and here are just a few examples of toys that are expanding their markets into other uses and demographics. By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


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    Killercool (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 5:10pm

    Gah. Lego.

    I have accounted for entirely too large a portion of that $1 billion this year...

     

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      Michael Ho (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 5:21pm

      Re: Gah. Lego.

      For little plastic parts, I'm always surprised at how much Lego costs... I imagine that someday 3D printers might be able to eat Lego's lunch.

      Printing custom blocks would be cool, too.

       

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        Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 5:51pm

        Re: Gah. Lego.

        Why expensive? Because there’s no competition. After over half a century in production, you’d think any relevant patents would have expired, and there should be a thriving third-party market for Lego-compatible bricks and other products by now. But there isn’t.

         

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          Michael Ho (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:54pm

          Re: Re: Gah. Lego.

          Lawrence,

          There actually ARE blocks that compete with Lego... but a lot of people think the knockoffs don't stick together very well and are made from cheaper materials. I've seen some generic "interlocking plastic bricks" that didn't have quite the same quality of Lego, but I don't know if that's why they don't catch on at toy stores... Lego certainly has better branding and market share than any of its competitors.

          Here are just a few other bricks that work with Lego:
          Knex.com
          MegaBloks.com
          best-lock.com

          But you're right that the patents have expired for Lego (and Lego also failed in its attempt to trademark its brick designs):
          http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2008/11/eu-court-says-l/
          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/2 0100915/01140511024.shtml

          So hopefully, there will be more innovation in plastic brick based toys!

           

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            Killercool (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 12:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Gah. Lego.

            That has been my experience.

            I remember about 6-8 years back, I had to destroy a Mega Bloks brick to separate it from a Lego baseplate. The softer plastic had deformed when connected.
            That may not be common, but it kinda destroyed any small chance of me purposely purchasing non-Lego bricks again.
            Well, that and, in my experience, the pieces don't even hold to their own brand bricks very well.

             

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          RonKaminsky (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 2:08am

          Re: Re: Gah. Lego.

          (Partially) because, of course (this being Techdirt), Lego has been successfully impeding competitor's market penetration via litigation.

          Once it was technically difficult to manufacture interlocking plastic bricks to the necessary tolerances, but I think that's much less of a challenge now. Frankly I think that the most important factor is the brand recognition that Lego has (I suppose that's the analogue of CwF for physical products?).

           

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          Michael Ho (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 12:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Gah. Lego.

          Those 3D printed lego-like bricks on Thingiverse are pretty cool, but the build quality of those bricks are clearly much lower than the injection-molded ones!

          But I'm sure 3D printers will just get better and better...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 2:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Gah. Lego.

            I agree. five years ago the ones I posted wouldn't even be possible, not they are. In a few years time, you won't be able to tell the difference. Technology always advances far faster then people believe it to.

             

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 6:31am

      Re: Gah. Lego.

      I figured we will probably end up with over 4,000 new LEGO pieces this Christmas. Gonna need a new laundry detergent tub from Sam's Club! I also thought of 3D printing your own LEGOs, as Michael said. They already have really good CAD files for LEGO building software. Once 3D printing becomes cheap and accurate enough to replicate LEGO's tolerances we should be able resurrect some of the old designs we had back when we were kids.

       

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    Spike (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 8:41pm

    Yeah, because we all know an Align 700E Heli (no matter how modified), is a "toy helicopter".

    I stand at least 20 feet away from mine the whole time the blades are spinning and for good reason.

     

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