Yesterday, The Lego Group announced it will discontinue its Mindstorms-branded products at the end of 2022, as first reported by Brick Fanatics and several other Lego fan websites. In an official statement, the company said it will redirect its internal Mindstorms team into “different areas of the business” and that its Mindstorms Robot Inventor App digital platforms will remain live until the end of 2024.
Lego Mindstorms debuted on September 1, 1998, as a breakthrough educational tool—originally developed at MIT—that allowed kids and adults alike to craft robotic systems using standard Lego parts and a computerized control brick.
The set gained a key part of its appeal by allowing owners to program the control brick easily on a personal computer using a drag-and-drop visual programming language, making sophisticated robots possible with a relatively simple set of parts. Over the years, hobbyists and researchers took the Mindstorms series in unexpected new directions while Lego itself iterated the product line with increasingly sophisticated offerings.
Lego announced the latest (and apparently last) entry in the series, the Mindstorms Robot Inventor product (51515), in June 2020, representing the fourth generation of Mindstorms products after the launch in 1998 and major revisions in 2006 and 2013. The 51515 kit retails for $359.99, but it may not be available for long as Lego phases out the product line.
Here is Lego’s full statement, which was provided to Lego fan sites:
Since its launch in September 1998, LEGO MINDSTORMS has been one of the core “Build & Code” experiences in the company’s portfolio, carrying with it significant brand equity and becoming a stand-out experience for the early days of consumer robotics and leading to current Build & Code experiences such as SPIKE Prime, from LEGO Education’s LEGO Learning System.
However, now having a number of priorities in LEGO Education and other Build & Code experiences, 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.
This means the physical MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor product (51515) and its related elements (88016 and 88018) are to exit our portfolio from the end of 2022, whilst digital platforms—such as the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor App—will remain live until at least the end of 2024.
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.
It’s worth noting that Lego has not completely closed the door on a return of the Mindstorms brand in the future—the company mentions retaining the Mindstorms trademark. But with a redirection of the internal Mindstorms team and resources and a gap in Mindstorms product availability after December 2022, it seems like this is the end of the product line as we know it.
Leave a Reply