Okay, so my "Convention Buddy" is probably going to strangle me in a very slow and painfull manner for writing this Opinion piece, but bear with me...
First things first, I love LEGO, but I can also appreciate the sets from other construction toy companies, even though this often results in namecalling et all on forums and facebook groups.
But this piece is about companies that make their own IP ranges, not knock off companies like the dreaded Lepin for one. Those make just flat copies, while companies like Kre-O (Transformers), Mega Bloks (Star Trek), Nano Blocks (Pokemon) etc have their own genuine ranges.
And really, the new Blockheads that LEGO launched this week at SDCC is basically the same as the older released Kubros line by Mega Bloks... but I doubt any die-hard LEGOista will see it that way...
But Mega Bloks. Yes, I admit, they had inferiour quality years ago, but in my experience, they have gone up a LOT since around the time of their Warcraft series about 5 years ago. heck, a lot of their properties are really cool, like HALO, Assassin`s Creed, Terminator etc...
Now, contrary to some other companies that had cool licenses (Best Lok`s Stargate comes to mind for one), Mega Bloks has a lot of unique pieces that you can`t copy easily with Lego. With Best Lok, i just bought the instruction booklet for a euro of their Daedalus and then build it with genuine Lego parts, something not do-able with their ranges.
Of course, the figures are TOTALLY different from the (patented) minifigure, and this is already a good indication if you`re dealing with a company that makes their own construction toy toys, or if you have chinese knock-offs on your hand. While their is a niche in the action figure market for knock-off figures (Masters of the Universe and Star Wars have whole collector fares dedicated to the mostly mexican, brazilian and polish figures of a few decades ago), with Lego this is a whole different matter.
The Mega Bloks figures are more like small action figures and their heads etc aren`t really interchangable, so you have unique figures and that is it. Going into their Expert Collector lines, these figures have even more articulation points, so really there is no comparing them to regular minifigures.
Maybe it`s time to change all this and become more openminded towards other toys? If the Transformer fans could do it with knock-offs and the Go-Bots range, then surely the AFOL must be able to open his experiences as well?
Just my two cents... but now I got to think further about founding BeMBUG, the Belgian Mega Bloks User Group!