Cuusoo team provide more clarity around the review process

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The Cuusoo team has published the first of three blog entries that will explain the review process and subsequent production of models that reach 10,000 supporters.

The salient points are:

  • There will be a quarterly review cycle, with the first review scheduled for early June.
  • Models will be evaluated for design, brand fit, strategy fit, and business case.
  • It is likely that one project per quarter will be produced, and should more than one pass review in a given quarter, it will be queued for possible later production.

When we have been discusssing will-they-won't-they make this-that-or-the-other, we have only really considered design and brand fit (or at least, I have) but the other two evaluation criteria are of course equally important to the company and will, I suspect, cause some otherwise good projects to be rejected.

After all, if LEGO don't think they can sell enough of a certain model to make it worth their while making it, of course they are not going to bother. Strategy fit is an interesting one and something we outside the company will never get a feel for. Let's say some sort of 'space marines' theme is planned for 2014, then clearly they would not make a 'space marines' Cuusoo model to pre-empt it.

So, let's see how many more projects we can push to 10,000 for the first review: if you haven't already, please take a look through my hand-picked ones in Cuusoo Corner and support those that take your fancy.

27 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Huw, if I may, why was the Mirage futuristic city removed from Cuusoo Corner? I really thought that one was one of the more likely candidates out there.

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By in United States,

They explain strategy fit as "does it conflict with anything we’re producing?" which isn't too hard to comprehend. Basically, while they have Star Wars, it's doubtful they will produce any other licensed space themes. This is why I think they will pass on the Zelda submission as it could conflict with the LOTR sets.

They could also use the queue to approve the BTTF set, but wait for the upcoming anniversary to release it if they wanted to.

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By in United Kingdom,

It would also be nice to know what sizes will successful models be. Will they just be what passes review, or will they aim to have one small, two medium and one large model per year? Four large (1000+ piece) models per year are going to be costly if you want them all, so it would be good to have some successful smaller ones too.

It is of course useful to know this for cuusoo developers too. If a large one has been accepted, should develops aim small.

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By in Canada,

I was banned from Cuusoo... apparently I was too negative with my feedback.

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By in United States,

Interesting bit:
"we’re exploring possibilities that will allow you to share the risk of production costs so that your favorite projects can make it into production faster."
Do they mean a pre-order/Kickstarter type arrangement for the projects that are approved but pushed to the end of the production queue?

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By in United States,

This is bad news... I mentioned this either on the forum or another post on the front page. I basically stated I was worried about the success of Cuusoo, if they start getting multiple projects passing the 10,000 vote mark, and start producing them, where will they go? Will they only have one out at a time on shelves in B&M stores? will they be online exclusives? or will they have a whole section of the B&M stores dedicated to Cuusoo sets. This blog entry seems to indicate they will only have one cuusoo set available at a time, meaning they could reject the Modular Western project because they want to approve the BTTF set.

I wonder if this will lead to strategizing of Cuusoo uploads? Say someone has a really good MOC they want to upload, maybe they'll wait to a dead quarter with not many promising projects to increase the chances of his/her project being selected in the review process?

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By in United States,

I suggest that suggestions for models to support go in the actual forum thread.
Better still, Huw, if you can figure out how to direct comments from relevant news posts into the appropriate forum thread, it will make the discussion a lot more coherent.

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By in United Kingdom,

"Our team will continue to improve and refine this process, and we’re exploring possibilities that will allow you to share the risk of production costs so that your favorite projects can make it into production faster."

I wonder if that just means pre-orders must come in before they make it?

Or upfront payment from the developer towards costs, and a better percentage of sales? This happens with some user designed pieces on custom sites.

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By in United States,

This is a very interesting read. Once models hit 10k, now they are kind of battling each other (including 10k models that passed review last quarter but were passed to a future slot). With that being said, we can now speculate on the 4 that are currently at 10k:

1) EVE Online Rifter: No new parts (except maybe a printed pilot). Licensing shouldn't be an issue (CCP is already reaching out to LEGO to sign on the dotted line). It could possibly be a conflict to Star Wars and Alien Conquest. They could also consider it a sales risk (not many people have heard of EVE).

2) Zelda: Lots of new parts. Licensing could be a bear. It could possibly be a a conflict to LOTR and Kingdoms. I think we can agree that it is HUGELY popular so it would sell well.

3) BttF: Some new parts (for the characters). Licensing could be a bear. I don't think it would conflict with anything (City maybe). It is HUGELY popular so it would sell well. And they could pass on this so that it coincides with the movie anniversary.

4) Modular Western: No new parts. No licensing needed. It doesn't conflict with anything (Modular buildings *maybe*). I'm sure we could argue about its popularity but I'll just say that the western theme in general is losing its appeal but these sets are beautiful and they've said since 5000 that they are working on it.

So, if I had to guess, I'd say it would be the Modular Western going to make it this round.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^^^ the BTTF model will be held back to 2015 i believe for the 3oth aniverserary of BTTF, if it is accepted.

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By in United States,

@behemothjosh Not sure I buy your argument about BTTF (and I'm a big fan). When't the last time you saw a licensed BTTF product on a store shelf? Let's face it, it's a 25 year old IP that has a niche, but devoted, fanbase. People aren't beating down the doors to buy BTTF stuff, especially kids, who most of have probably never heard of it. Equating it with Zelda in relevant popularity is a pretty big stretch. Zelda is unlikely given the factors already discussed. So it's going to be one of the other 3. They all have pros and cons going for them. My money would be on BTTF or Western.

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By in United States,

My top takeaway from the letter was that they are seriously committed to making this work somehow.
I don't think they are going to pull the plug unless there is some complete fiasco. All those people saying "nail in the coffin" because one popular project got rejected or yanked... clearly no.

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By in Canada,

@mkoesel, the entire model is fantastic but just one section of it, as LEGO suggested would be made, would lose a lot of the appeal.

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By in United States,

@dougts. You are probably right about BttF. It's a recognizable brand for us adults, but could be a "what is that Dad?" to the kids. And they are aiming for kids. Plus I seriously think they'd try to time it with the anniversary of the show to maximize profit.

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By in United States,

@doughts In answer to your question, Toys R Us currently carries BttF Minimates figures/vehicles (among other items in the prior 3 years). BttF is a niche brand, yes, and I agree with your worries, but it seems to still sell to collectors. Now that I think about it, the BttF license that Diamond Select Toys has might prove an impediment to LEGO.

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By in United States,

Huw - Thank you for adding the Star Wars micro-scenes to the Cuusoo Corner. I may have missed it, but is there a more formal channel for recommending ideas for the Corner than just posting comments in threads? If not, I'd like to recommend this stunning modular diner/theater set:

http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/10585

The exterior designs and interior details are terrific, though it surely would need to be split into two sets were it to be sold. (And with the modular Western town gone form the Corner, we need another modular project!)

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By in United States,

^ do we? it seem to me that LEGO is already meeting the market need for city/town modular buildings. They produce one every year, and no doubt they have years worth of plans already in the pipeline. There seems little point in trying to push more of this line on Cuusoo - it goes to the "strategy fit" bullet point described in the blog post. They are already doing it, why give away 1% of the proceeds?

At least the Western town idea was in a different theme setting, and a had a slightly different design style (open backs) - there'e differentiation there.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ I agree with dougts here. I don't see modulars being that successful on cuusoo, simply because the line is already running. No doubt Lego have plans for everything, on a slow roll out of street buildings.

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By in United Kingdom,

I don't want to be negative, and certainly don't buy into some of the doom and gloom about Cuusoo, but surely it's the case that if TLG thought that an idea was economically sensible and fitted into their strategy that they would already release it. Cuusoo only makes sense as a way of countering TLG's _potential_ misjudgement of demand or interest.

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By in United States,

@behemothjosh, Pfft. I'm 14, and I've known about BttF for YEARS! And many of my friends know about it too.

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By in United States,

@jonbuddy, but their target audience is 6 to 11 year olds.

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By in United States,

@dougts - I see your point, but part of Cuusoo's allure is having some control over existing lines, not just proposing entirely new ones. Although 1-2 modular buildings are produced each year, the Cuusoo supporters don't just want *a* modular building--they'd really like *this* modular building.

By your logic, anything having to do with Star Wars would have to be excluded, as well, because it's an established, ongoing theme. Same goes for the "light and sound fire truck" just added to the Corner because we've had a couple City fire trucks in the last few years.

This all goes back to the debate over licensed vs. non-licensed and what projects we should support. There's no point holding out for an idealized version of what Cuusoo "should" be. It's whatever someone wants it to be based on their own personal tastes.

@leemcg - You may well be right. But I'd much rather have a company that actively seeks fan input and actually creates sets based on it, than one that acts like it's never wrong (See: Mattel). Cuusoo at the very least provides invaluable market research into what fans want.

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By in United States,

I don't know. All my extended family (46 cousins), mostly consisting of the 6-11 age group have all heard of and seen at least some parts of BttF. My and all my friends have seen them all at least once (Personally I love all of them and watch them all once a year as a tradition) that being said, I enjoy the movies, but I wouldn't buy a BttF set. I like the movies because they're fun in a way really only a movie can be, and having Lego's of them would just seem eh at best. This is my opinion anyway, I'm sure a lot of collectors would get them but I'm not sure that is what Lego is looking for. The Western Module seems to have the best chance. Lego can make it whatever they want it to be. No licensing which I'm sure Lego would be happy for. What would be great is a Western Saloon WITH the BttF car and the main cast. That would be a winner IMO.

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By in United States,

You should add projects "Majestic Airship","The glory of Rome",and "Pipe Organ" to the Cusoo corner.

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