First launching in September 1998, the MINDSTORMS platform has been central to the LEGO Group’s coding experience for nearly a quarter of a century. However, the company says its priorities now lie in ‘LEGO Education and other Build & Code experiences’, and it’s subsequently retiring the current MINDSTORMS set 51515 Robot Inventor (and the platform’s individual components) by the end of this year.
“We have decided to focus our resources and future plans by redirecting our MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor team and their expertise into different areas of the business,” the LEGO Group shared in a statement. The app for 51515 Robot Inventor, which offers instructions for five different motorised robots and vehicles, will remain live ‘until at least the end of 2024’, with updates to support new operating systems across iOS, MacOS, Windows, Android and FireOS.
While this is apparently the end of LEGO MINDSTORMS, though, the LEGO Group isn’t abandoning the concept altogether. “We still have strong belief in the Build & Code proposition and will continue to support it through platforms such as SPIKE Prime, and we are continuing to hold on to the trademark for the MINDSTORMS brand and assessing our future plans together with LEGO Education,” the company added.
That said, SPIKE Prime is effectively LEGO Education’s implementation of MINDSTORMS, so it’s tricky to envision how the two platforms could co-exist under a single banner. The major consequence of retiring 51515 Robot Inventor (and associated components, such as 88016 Large Hub) is that the LEGO Group’s ‘Build & Code proposition’ won’t be as readily available to everyday consumers.
LEGO MINDSTORMS 51515 Robot Inventor is still available at LEGO.com (in the UK and Europe – it’s ‘temporarily out of stock’ in the US), but with app updates only promised for two more years – in line with standard practices for digital apps tied to retiring physical products, such as VIDIYO – there’s seemingly a hard limit on how long that investment will be useful for.
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- I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.
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