Friday, February 2, 2018

Why doesn't Lego offer an official GBC set?

I was thinking about this again today.  Why doesn't the Lego group offer an official GBC set?

Lego Great Ball Contraptions have been around for over 13 years, and many awesome GBC sets have been uploaded to the Lego Ideas website.

I believe the unwritten core rules of having a Lego Ideas set published is the following:

Interest - What % of Lego fans would this interest?  What % of non-Lego fans would this interest.

Playability - Does the model use interesting building techniques and parts?  Is it fun to play with?  What about re-playability?
Cost - How much will the set cost?

Now lets imagine that a GBC set on Lego Ideas met those criteria and received the 10000 votes required, why might the Lego group still not want to make a GBC set?

Durability - GBC models use and wear parts down all the time.  Lego wouldn't want to deal with complaints over a GBC model wearing down after a weeks use.  Parents may also be concerned kids breathing in, or eating ABS dust.

Design Resources - Lego has a limited amount of designers, and GBC modules can be quite complex when you need to factor in extended use and reliability.  Would lego have an existing designer who is an avid GBC fan to work on the project?

Community Interaction - Lego was not involved with the creation of the GBC Standard rules.  Would they use them?  Would they want to alter them?  Would they collaborate with GBC creators in order to make sure the standards are met?


Interest in GBC is growing as you can see at most conventions, the layouts are getting bigger and bigger.  However at this time I feel that it wouldn't be profitable for Lego to pursue a GBC set.  And lets be honest, Lego is a business trying to make money.

Maybe this will change in the future, but until then it's up to us builders to keep growing the publics interest in GBC.


  1. Hi there, i agree with all your points, but i can confirm first hand that TLG is aware of GBC and there is at least some minimal insterest on it, at least for some of the people i talked to :) which of course doesn't mean we'll see any official gbc anytime soon if ever

  2. It's wonderful that the Technic Group did the GBC videos on their social media last year, lets hope that they continue doing more of that in 2018.

  3. Lego making their own gbc models is still definetly a possiblity because well, they technically already have in the past. Although the lego ideas maze set was the first official lego set to utilize lego balls in a marble like fashion, the lego technic 42055 set was probably the closest we've ever got to an official lego gbc set. In fact, it's even been used at events for gbc loops, since all you'd really need to make for it is a bucket for the balls to fall into. Because of this, I don't think that lego getting officially into GBC is an impossibility, so I'd like to go over the points you've made and how lego could approach them.

    Durability: Although it is true that lego gbc models due wear down pieces if motorized, the same can be said for literally any set that requires a motor constantly running by powering a gear box. For instance, one of the lego sets I owned (42043) began to wear down and generate ABS dust around the rod for just a single week of use. I can guarantee that the 42055 model has the same issue RC models probably have it much worse too since the motors are constantly being put to the test.

    Design Resources: This is where lego Ideas come into play. Lots of gbc designers have already submit their ideas but the issue is that they don't gain a lot of support. This is more on the end of lego GBC getting bigger rather than lego lacking designers. I think the only real issue would be providing a large amount of lego marbles, since it seems that zammospheres are a lot cheaper to produce than soccer balls.

    Community Interaction: Again this depends entirely on who proposes their gbc model too lego ideas. However, if lego were to start making gbc's I'd imagine that they'd aim more at making small miniature loops rather than models that connect into a larger loop. If they do get into full blown modules then we'll just have to pray that they meet the standard.

    Lego getting into the marble market would honestly not be a bad idea. I'm pretty sure it's been every kids dream to get a toy that combined the physics of marbles with the buildability of legos. Small loops would be a good start for them since they don't have to be powered, and the real money would be made with sets that could be connected into a full loop. Maybe putting them in the creator section would be a good idea as well.