Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why are Collectible Minifigures so overpriced now? [Editorial]

Back when they were introduced in May 2010, LEGO's Collectible Minifigures were clearly something special. 16 different characters in mystery packs, so you wouldn't know who you'd get- but you knew you would get something good. It was undoubtedly a quite profitable idea for LEGO, but it also gave us fans something new and exciting, whether you wanted the parts or just another nice minifigure for your collection. 

And for a few years, everything was going well. 11 series of minifigures were produced- a total of 176 different characters. Parts from the line were beginning to find their way into mainstream sets, but the minifigures kept getting better and better. 

Then, in May 2014- four years after the original Minifigures series- The Simpsons series was released. This was an interesting move on LEGO's part, and some thought it was a bad one. Previously, LEGO had made a series based on The LEGO Movie, but The Simpsons series was the first truly licensed theme, based on another company's property. Due to the licensing costs, this series of minifigures cost $3.99 each instead of the usual $2.99. This was slightly aggravating, but in this case understandable. 


LEGO announced that Series 12 (which was just released a month ago) would also have minifigures priced at $3.99 each, just like The Simpsons series. The difference here was that these minifigures weren't licensed. There wasn't really any good reason for LEGO to keep the price a dollar above the previous amount. 

Four dollars is not a lot of money, I know. But the minifigures have not suddenly started containing more pieces. They are still tiny little toys, no more than 10 parts each (usually more like 5 or 6). Four dollars for six parts is waaaayyyyy higher than would reasonably be expected in any other LEGO theme. It comes out as about 67 cents per piece, compared to the average of 10 or 11 cents per piece. 

I really think The LEGO Group should consider taking the price of Collectible Minifigures back down to three dollars (or even two dollars, the price back in 2010) for the next series and any (non-licensed) ones after that. The current price increase has taken a considerable amount away from the joy of purchasing, opening, and trading your minifigures. 

And anyway- at its heart, LEGO isn't entirely about making scads of money. It's about having fun. Collectible minifigures used to be fun. If LEGO brings the price down to a more reasonable amount, they can be fun again. 


SilentMode said...

Unfortunately that was the strategy all along; warm us up with The LEGO Movie and The Simpsons CMFs, and you know how it goes.
I wouldn't mind the price increase so much if they reintroduced spare parts with each figure, like they had with S1 and S2.

Tate said...

Good point; the spare parts were a nice addition to the packs. It's too bad they stopped including them. Still not sure if their inclusion would justify a price increase though.