It slipped out under the radar for most of us interested in such things, possibly because it occurred on the same day as the sad news came of Sir Terry Pratchett’s passing; but for those wondering how things are fairing for Blocksworld, the one remaining product in the Lab’s portfolio outside of its virtual world endeavours, the answer would appear to be, “Well enough to get an extension of LL’s relationship with Hasbro.”
On March 12th, the Lab slipped out a press release announcing that Heroes Will Be Made…with Blocks! G.I. JOE® Comes to Blocksworld®.
the release reads in part:
Through the relationship with Hasbro, six fun new G.I. JOE games will be available for all Blocksworld players. The games present an exciting new storyline in the conflict between G.I. JOE and COBRA that ends in a cliffhanger, and Blocksworld players will be challenged to create and share their own interactive endings to the narrative.
As well as the games themselves, the launch included a set of G.I. Joe building sets, available as in-app purchases, allowing players to extend the G.I. Joe related adventures by using them to create additional characters, vehicles and weaponry.
This is the third partnering between Linden Lab and game / toy maker Hasbro, with My Little Pony having been added to the Blocksworld stable in 2014 alongside of – in what must have seemed an obvious choice for the game – Transformers, coinciding with that particular franchise returning to the silver screen. Another foray for Blocksworld into the world of films during 2014 came with the release of the Legends of Oz sets of Dorothy’s Return (tying in with the animated feature of the same name), and Heroes of Oz.
Approaching eighteen months on the market, Blocksworld is proving to be something of a durable title in the cut-throat world of apps, where titles can rise and fall almost overnight at times. According to App Annie, it continues to enjoy relatively high rankings in countries like the USA, UK, Canada, and Japan. In the USA, it has consistently been in the top 10 in terms of revenue for “educational” games, and in the top 500 for games in general.
While “educational” might seem a tad bit odd as a category for the game to be listed under, Michelle Vuckovich, the Director of Product for Blocksworld, points to the game’s educational value in the G.I. Joe press release. “Kids love playing and creating in Blocksworld,” she is quoted as saying. “While having fun creating anything they can imagine, they’re also learning to think like programmers, game designers, and engineers – something parents and teachers can appreciate.”
As well as the G.I Joe release in March, Blocksworld also saw a change in January 2015, with the introduction of something which might have a familiar ring to it for SL users: Blocksworld Premium.
This appears to be an in-app (presumably purchasable) upgrade which offers those joining the opportunity to “build epic creations with infinite blocks, actions, textures, and more!”. In addition, Premium users get Standard Blocks as soon as they are released, with (dare I say it?) a “stipend” of Action Blocks added to their inventory every week.
It’s still not clear if Blocksworld will move into the world of Android devices; but it certainly seems to be quite comfortable in the iPad world, and quite likely doing very nicely for the Lab while there, as noted.