The LEGO Group announced this week they will be acquiring BrickLink, the online marketplace for LEGO parts. This has sent shockwaves throughout the entire LEGO fan community.
Here are a few links to some of the articles, news, and reactions I’ve seen thus far…
- LEGO Press Release
- JANGBRiCKS on YouTube: LEGO bought BrickLink & I have thoughts, good & bad
- BrickSet: Announcement of acquisition including Q&A with LEGO representative Julia Goldin
- The Brothers Brick article about the buyout, including another Q&A with Goldin (and from which I borrowed the image for this post, above)
- Q&A (in English) on German fan site 1000steine.de on “Lego kauft Bricklink” (Part 1, Part 2)
- Brick Fanatics coverage:
- The LEGO Group acquires Bricklink
- The LEGO Group’s Bricklink acquisition ‘not motivated by money’
- The deal also includes Soho Bricks, which makes LEGO-compatible bricks and was owned by BrickLink: The LEGO Group “excited” to acquire clone brick brand
One of the things that people are particularly upset about is the fact that currently, third-party military parts such as BrickArms are sold on BrickLink. As JANGBRiCKS points out in his video, Goldin told BrickSet “We do not therefore anticipate making any changes” but in the Brothers Brick article she says, “you would not see BrickArms and guns and things that are potentially particularly connected to things like warfare and violence […] Those kinds of things we would not want to see on the platform.” They’re already contradicting themselves, and despite wanting to retain “the vision that Dan the original founder had” and “maintain some of that independent spirit” there will be changes, and a lot of the changes will be things that fans won’t like.
My prediction is that LEGO will be, as JANGBRiCKS says, unable to stick to their original intent of not making any changes. They’ll start adding new rules and policies, and some of those will really upset a lot of people. I can’t tell what it will be, but it will probably be side-effects of LEGO’s contracts with Disney and other intellectual property owners, or a desire to not undercut Pick-A-Brick or ways that LEGO sell parts or sets. Maybe they will ban sales of certain parts or sets, or impose rules on pricing parts? Hard to say. Let’s just hope that whatever changes they make are minimally invasive, but I have my doubts.