Why does Constraction sell so poorly? Here's a bit of a theory

For the past, let’s say 5 years sales for Constraction have been on a definite decline. This has caused Lego to cancel various themes, such as Bionicle…


Bionicle was fairly popular (we wouldn’t be on this message boards without it), so why didn’t that save Constraction the second time? The sets were decent, and the story wasn’t awful. What has caused such a decrease in the overall interest in Constraction?

Well, let’s take a step back. In the early to late 2000’s, action figures were extremely popular. It was only in the 90’s that balljoints popularized for a brand new way of making action figures posable and playable. Naturally, this contributed to the boom. Transformers toys were more posable than ever, and new lines also began to develop, such as Slizers and, a bit later, Bionicle.

What does this have to do with Bionicle? Quite a bit. This was an era where a gaming computer and a smartphone didn’t exist in every house; the era where imagination and television were basically the two main forms of entertainment for kids (provided you didn’t like sports :stuck_out_tongue:), which required you to rely a little less on something tangible. With this, “imaginative play” was popular, you know, pew pew bang bang. Not relying on something visible to have fun, because that’s just the kind of entertainment you had back then. Video games were still primitive, and not extremely cheap. You had to be a little imaginative and abstract when playing with toys.

Now, back to Bionicle for a second. What could you do with Bionicle back in the day? You could make something abstract. Even if your Rahi made from a scrapped Onua Nuva didn’t look how you envisioned it, you still saw it as that, as it was abstract enough for you to tell what it was (same thing went for video games, as the earlier games required a little bit of imagination with some of the designs). For this, Constraction was very popular. You were able to make things of any shape because you knew what it was, not because someone else could.

Why’d I bring up video games? Snap back to about 4 years ago, when a game exploded. Minecraft. This game was everywhere, it was a smash hit with the younger audience. It was a sandbox. You could see what you made, and you had unlimited resources to do so. Things like this beat out toys, because why play with toys when you can do it virtually without spending any more money than the first time? Imagination became slightly less required, and you could rely more on visuals than imagination to see what you were doing.

Tying this all back to Constraction, action figures are slowly dying. I, for one, love action figures. But what about video games, especially sandboxes like Minecraft so much more popular? It’s the structures. Action figures are large, and they always have been. It’s expensive for a company to make a big tank for G.I. Joe’s, or a Star Destroyer playset for your old Star Wars Imperials. Now, this is where the popularity of Lego System comes in. What makes System so great? You can make massive structures for your Minifigures at relatively cheap prices. Just today I bought Merlock’s Library 2.0, and it was only $25 at retail. That was a decent structure with a small vehicle and three figures. Prices like these just aren’t feasible with real action figures. It’s just nice to be able to make some big, precisely detailed thing rather than let imagination take hold when you’re making an abstract creature from a cannibalized Tahu Master.

So, what am I trying to say? Well, I rambled a bit, but it’s basically this: (TL;DR)

Constraction, especially just CCBS, is too abstract to compete with something like System that offers such a more detailed output. It’s so much easier to make a big structure to play in with System than it is Constraction, and you don’t need to rely on imagination because everything looks the way you need it to.

I love Constraction, I always will, but I think that when video games offered a more visual source of entertainment, the tangibility of System just blew away the old-styled action figures Constraction offered. Video games already threaten the toy market, and System just allows a better competitor for that appeal than Constraction can.


I guess it also depends on the person.

Yes, but take a second to look at the primary audience of action figures; young boys, probably around 9-12, and these are the ones who are most likely to be literally playing with their toys. Lego is designed to be played with, and the fact that system is easier to play with in a way that can combat video games makes all the difference.

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This makes sense, action figures are not interesting to lids anymore. These kids are born with Ipads and Youtube for entertainment and don’t need things like toys for entertainment. Also the lack of advertising made it impossible to target any older demographic.

Not to mention other Lego themes that are getting more attention than Bionicle ever had.


I would be interested in seeing someone do more research on the matter. It’s a solid and interesting theory, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true. Sad what that means for Bionicle, though.

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Feel like there’s a lot of reasons, but since we’re discussing the change in culture/mentality, I’d like to throw in my opinion on this.

If we’re talking toys, there’s a definite change on why toys and such are bought now, especially with the rise of Funko Pop!, themed blind boxes and the like. There’s a much bigger emphasis on licensed IPs and collect-ability as toys serve much more as shelf-warmers than things to play with.


If I had to make a suggestion, I’d say make Constraction more Technic-based. That way, you have a lot more options when it comes to making custom things, which, if this theory is accurate, is what people want.

It is true that nowadays, toys like Funko Pop! are being bought specifically as collector’s items and not to play with. This includes Figma, Figuarts, the Powet Rangers Legacy line, and many others. Stuff like this didnt need to exist when toys were still frequently sold to kids.

I’m gonna be writing an academic essay on it…this topic brings up a lot of good points that I may use for my arguments.


If Bionicle only had brought back mask packs then it would probably be saved.

That wouldn’t have been enough. Mask packs appeal to the MOCing crowd, but they don’t offer a whole lot for play beyond minor personal preference. Keep in mind, there are two audiences, the older community and the younger. The older consists of MOCists and collectors, while the younger (the demographic Lego aims for more often) consists primarily of children who want to play with toys. Given the possible decrease in purely imaginative play (that was mentioned earlier), I don’t think different mask colors and shapes really would have affected much.


This all seems pretty accurate to me. Another factor to keep in mind is that toys in general are not doing too well, mainly because of video games, which you already pointed out. Lego seems to be one of the few toy companies actually doing well and selling anything with real popularity. This means constraction is becoming more unfordable for Lego, the cost is too much for them, especially if they want to remain at the top like they are now.

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Yep, and that’s why I specifically mentioned Minecraft. It offers a similar play pattern to what makes System so versatile, which Constraction simply lacks.

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Kids are slapped on their tablets 24/7. I mean we all sorta do it in some levels now but they are doing it quite eairly in their lives. I didnt have any personal tech until I was in 5th grade. Now kids get tablets as young as 3 years old.

Constraction needs to incorporate system more and visa versa if its going to survive.

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Maybe a tech-gimmick would work, kinda like Nexo Knights shields.

Maybe we should ask “What’s the appeal of constraction?” and why one should buy constraction as opposed to system or to current action figure practices with a build-a-figure gimmick.

Sound like something Nick would say.

Lego has passively used CCBS on System sets, but not extensively compared to Bionicle (by that, I mean it’s mostly CCBS bone and shell armor) and Star Wars buildable figures is only using the System parts by a small margin.

Both Ultimate/Battle Suits didn’t exceed to sell well from at local stores and various of posts, it’s not even forced (thank goodness) since you can scan the shield power with no drawback.

This is mention numerous of time, but current constraction is overpriced and difficult to support by paying $25 for a standard SW figure each wave.


Definitely. I think reducing the price by at least $10 would make some more inclined to buy the figures.

I am a Nick, so it works for me as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

It seems at this point that the only serious integration we’re getting is Constraction into System, as that seems to be the safest way to sell a set with a larger action figure esque build.

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