Soon, years of development and work will be seen when Sphere launches ToySphere, a website for LEGO fans that is a comprehensive index of LEGO sets from the past decade. With this index is also a new way for people to view and explore online, as the site doesn’t use the normal conventions of web content.
The home page gives no hint of change, as it’s a page with planets (or spheres) for LEGO themes. For those familiar with the LEGO Universe game that was released a decade ago, this screen may call back to that game. Once you click on a planet/sphere, though, things quickly change. Instead of a web page, you have a panoramic view of all the sets of a theme around you. By moving your cursor, you can move completely around and see inside the sphere you clicked.
What’s inside are all the sets in the theme from the past decade, clustered by categories. These categories may be movies, vehicles, or subthemes, and each are laid out in the sphere as a floor to ceiling display to experience and explore. Click on a set, and the visitor zooms in on it while the background blurs, creating a vignette where you can click on images, video, and ordering information from LEGO (if the set is current) or Ebay (if the set is out of production). The photos can be zoomed in and out using gestures, and returning is another click.
It’s like turning the LEGO catalog into a museum space, where one has the past decade of sets to see and discover at your fingertips.
ToySphere is the result of the efforts of Warren Minde and Olly Treadway. Warren, who heads up Strategy Innovation at Sphere and is a lifelong fan of LEGO. Working in consulting and innovation for the past few years with LEGO, he helped develop strategy for the Adults range of LEGO sets as well as the boys and girls range, including helping develop the DOTS line of sets.
While working with the LEGO Group, Warren became obsessed with the brand, as he was working at the headquarters in Billund, Denmark, and visited LEGO House. He was amazed at the places the company had designed, from their LEGO Brand retail stores to LEGO House. All of these real-world locations were incredible immersive experiences that also matched the LEGO brand with their playfulness and sense of wonder. He began to wonder if it was possible to create this in the digital space.
It was at this time he met Olly Treadway, a tech wizard, who is also a LEGO fan. Olly had been working (at that point) for five years on an idea for a digital space and presented it in a LEGO theme to Warren. It was the greatest thing Warren had ever seen and changed Warren’s life, job and everything to join Olly on the journey to make what became ToySphere.
Olly created a means to present the immense amount of products, video, and other content in all of the different ranges of LEGO in a form that fans could discover, share and explore that hadn’t been done before. Unlike a web page, there are no restrictions to moving – a visitor can go any direction and engage any information they want. The page metaphor for web visiting simply doesn’t apply – a visitor is in an environment.
And that environment is not limited to LEGO – other products and places can be presented in this form. LEGO ToySphere is only a first step to this journey. There are many more things that will be added, including individual personal accounts for keeping one’s set inventory and more themes. The ToySphere will be constantly updated as new sets are produced. On October 1, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Mario Brothers will be added.
In many ways, LEGO ToySphere is the first step to the reference site LEGO fans always wanted. It’s a museum fit for everyone, yet is free. It’s always open. And it’s as close as your tablet or phone. Your journey begins soon!
LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure are trade marks of the LEGO Group of Companies. ToySphere and the ToySphere logo are trade marks of Sphere Research Ltd. Some of the content on the ToySphere site featured in this video is copyright of The LEGO Group. ToySphere.com is operated by Sphere Research Ltd. © 2020 All rights reserved.