Lego Is Discontinuing Its Mindstorms Buildable Robot Kits

Lego Is Discontinuing Its Mindstorms Buildable Robot Kits

The programming’s been on the wall for a while, but yesterday, as reported by fan sites like Brick Fanatics and Brickset, Lego announced that it will be discontinuing its Mindstorms robotics lineup at the end of the year, and only guaranteeing support for the accompanying mobile apps, where the robots can be controlled and programmed, for another two years after that.

Lego Mindstorms first debuted back in September of 1998, over 24 years ago, leveraging the company’s more complicated Technics building pieces, featuring gears and other mechanical components, to build semi-autonomous robots controlled by sensors and a programmable brick. It was one of the first toys to actively promote STEM learning before that became a buzzword in the toy industry, and over the years the Mindstorms sets and components have been used to build some astonishingly capable creations.

The last major update made to the core Mindstorms product line was the EV3 set that came out back in 2013. It was used to build the record-setting (at the time) Cubestormer 3 robot which could solve Rubik’s Cube puzzles in the blink of an eye. At $US350 ($486) it was the most expensive Lego set released in 2013, although compared to the sets Lego is releasing these days, like a $US550 ($764) recreation of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armour, that’s less of a budget slayer.

The less-capable, Robot Inventor set, released back in 2020, was the last official addition to the Mindstorms line, although it shares components with the Lego Spike Prime sets recently released under the company’s Lego Education division, which will continue to be supported as a classroom learning tool. Ars Technica managed to get a copy of the full statement that Lego shared with its fan sites, which we’ve also included below:

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 unfortunate but understandable that Lego won’t be maintaining and updating the Mindstorms apps for longer than two years, but there have been plenty of alternative tools developed over the years for programming Lego robots that far exceed what Lego itself has provided to users. Those lucky enough to have these sets should be able to continue to enjoy them for years. As for those who don’t have their own Mindstorm bot, you’ll want to hit up eBay and yard sales as soon as possible because demand for these sets is about to skyrocket.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.