Lego and Fortnite Makers Team Up to Have a Baby “Safe” Metaverse

Lego Emmet escape from Fortnite screenshot.

picture: LEGO / Epic / Kotaku

Right now, every company in the world is scrambling to advertise something with the word “metaverse” in their offering. The scramble because it’s necessary to do this before anyone actually works out what the “metaverse” might be, and all the wind blows out of it like stale air from a forgotten Whoopi pillow. Two of those companies are Epic and Lego, which have just announced that they are working together to “shape the future of the metaverse to make it safe and fun for kids.” Urk.

The newly released says, “The two companies will collaborate.” press release“To build an immersive, inspiring, creative and engaging digital experience for children of all ages to enjoy together.”

If you’re asking what that means or what it might look like, that’s a good question. But that’s not quite enough of an empty buzzword, so it continues right away,

A family-friendly digital experience will give children access to tools that will enable them to become confident and creative and provide amazing play opportunities in a safe and positive setting.

wait a moment! [Record scratch.] Perhaps you are too hasty. Are they saying they’re planning to make a Lego game online?! This is groundbreaking stuff, folks. Unless you count the year 2010 lego universe (to cut), Lego Minifigures Online (to cut), LEGO Legends of Chima Online (to cut), LEGO world (Still alive!)…

buzzword nonsense”metaverse“Now he means, ‘Online shared spaces with avatars,’ like those that didn’t really exist decades ago. Since their inception, perfectly flat spaces haven’t been safe for kids. And they never will be, because if these spaces are designed to be inhabited by children, They will always be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by people you don’t want anywhere near your kids.But Epic are always the optimists.

The press release for this project says, “The LEGO Group and Epic Games will combine their extensive experience to ensure that this next iteration of the Internet is designed from the start with children’s well-being in mind.”

This is an unusual claim! The company is not talking about some games here. It seems to be demanding some kind of front-line position in development the internet.

Both companies then have the flexibility of kid-friendly credentials, with Epic citing its SuperAwesome purchase, and Lego boasting “a live social app for kids that’s directly supervised.” Neither of them stops to think about why kids need such a thing, even though the family-friendly image of Lego is connected to a lot of these messages.

For 90 years, the LEGO Group has inspired generations of children through play through the endless creative potential of the LEGO brick, which remains the core of its business.

Read between the lines of the absurd allegations made (“[Epic] at the forefront of popular culture”) it seems that what they are implying here is basically roblox game, but with “LEGO” on the label. This in and of itself raises a whole other set of concerns, given Extensive and serious allegations Made against huge popularity roblox game Because of her alleged failures to protect children, and even accusations of exploitation.

Oh, and maybe in virtual reality? Look, you thought I forgot that the metaverse is a VR thing. And yes, even if we put our generations away from VR controls detailed enough to satisfactorily put together a fanciful Lego game, what better than an online game that your child plays through a hidden helmet, where you can’t see the screen, nor hear what’s playing in their ears .

since then Maine CraftAn impossibly huge hit, especially as a toy children play in common spaces, Lego was desperate to find a way to get the same level of acclaim. Blocks belong to Lego, damn it! This appears to be their latest attempt to find a way for their perfect (and still hugely successful) physical game to exist in the online space.

A press release that spends 90% of its words explaining how safe their fictional product is in some way, based on… vague assertions, highlighting the centrality of this issue. That he doesn’t actually say what they’re working on reveals something completely different. This race to the metaverse is as delusional and ethereal as anything else connected to the undiluted trauma that is Web 3.0.

Updated: 4/7/22, 10:15AM ET: Text has been updated to attribute a quote to the content of the press release, rather than Tim Sweeney specifically.