Lego is launching a new line of building block kits this summer that enable 7-to-12-year-old children to build a physical building and then see that building become a part of a virtual world in the corresponding smartphone app. The budding builder would construct a facade out of the 200-piece Lego Fusion set, and then use the app’s camera function to capture the creation and turn it into a building within the app’s game, such as a tycoon game or a racing game.
The new Fusion kits are $35 while the apps are available for free. The apps come with a few demo games, but because each building must be made by real blocks before it will appear in the game, the apps require the corresponding Lego set. Also, throughout the games, players will be challenged to upgrade their buildings or construct new structures to advance through the stages.
The virtual side of the game offers plenty of new play opportunities as well. Every Lego creation is stored digitally, so they can play with the game even after they put their physical blocks away. According to Engadget, kids can also connect with their friends to see their friends’ buildings and race against their buddies’ cars.
Lego is preparing four Fusion sets for the market, including Lego Fusion Town Master, Lego Fusion Battle Towers, Lego Fusion Create & Race, and Lego Fusion Resort Designer. In Town Master and Resort Designer, kids can build up their own towns or resorts, and even customize the interior of some buildings. Battle Towers players will design and protect their own medieval castle. Kids who prefer to build their own custom cars will get the chance to do just that in the Create & Race game (pictured above).
Researchers at Lego developed the concept of the Fusion platform because they found that children do not differentiate physical and virtual play. “For kids, it’s really just one world,” said Ditte Bruun Pedersen, senior design manager at Lego’s Future Lab, as reported in The Wall Street Journal. “It’s all about the play for them.”