Anyone used Pleygo which is a website advertised as A Netflix-like rental service for Lego® sets? What are the pros and cons?
I guess I'm too stunned (I mean, is this for real?) to answer anything remotely meaningful, although some obvious cons come to mind:
- you get bricks which have been used, potentially a lot, and you have no clue how or by whom (well ok they say they sanitize them in between, but still)
- you don't get to keep them (well maybe that's a pro given the first con).
- 15$ per month seems rather expensive too, I'm not saying LEGO is a cheap toy but I'm confident you can get a decent amount of your own, new bricks for that price
But of course I've never used (or even known about) the service, so maybe I'm unnecessarily harsh about it.
However, I have some related experience with this: when I was a kid, there was a library in the village which doubled as a toy library on Saturday, where you could rent toys for a week. While this was great to play all sort of different board games and they made a very good effort to ensure they were always complete, I have some memories of one particular game which smelled kinda funny. We liked the game though, so we played it quite often, but it did smell funny.
So that would be one thing to be wary of - how exactly do they sanitize blocks? How do they deal with blocks which are rented to smokers, or people with pets (considering some people are allergic, it's a very valid question).
Of course inventory of the set would tend to be an issue too - as a matter of fact, they did have a few LEGO sets at said toy library, and I can tell you they were far from complete (since the library was at the school, we could sometimes play with the toys when waiting for our parents, or something like that; in any case I never rented LEGO sets as I had my own LEGO bricks and the sets weren't complete anyway). In any case, considering how easy it is to lose a LEGO parts, and seeing pleygo claims "No charge for lost pieces", it's bound to happen a lot that pieces are indeed lost. I assume they'll try to replace them somehow, but I'm extremely curious about how they'd do that.
If you're willing to try the service, I would at the very least recommand you get answers to these questions (they may be on their site somewhere, I didn't check), and more importantly, check if you can get a trial somehow. It would be nuts to have to pay one full year to realize the service is sub-par.
But in my opinion, it's probably always better to buy sets. Keeping in mind LEGO usually keeps its value rather well, is it wise to pay 15$ a month and not get anything you can keep in return?
Edit: it seems Pleygo is getting some momentum these days, and I assume the fact they're still in business speaks in their favour. Also, the owners have been kind enough to answer some questions to Brickset, which is a very interesting read and provides much needed answers to questions you may have (In particular, cleaning). Still not for me, but it seems they're quite serious and professionnal about it all. They do seem to offer the first month for free, too.
- You get to try LEGO sets to see if you like them before you buy
- You can build LEGO sets that you might not be able to afford
- You don't have to find a market for sets you don't want to keep long-term
- You don't have to worry about lost parts, cleaning etc. because someone else takes care of those things for you
- You don't need to find space to store all that LEGO permanently
- You don't get charged for lost parts
- You can't conveniently mix the components in with other sets to create your own MOCs (because you'll have to sort it all out again afterwards)
- You may have concerns about the quality or cleanliness of parts (although Pleygo does go to considerable lengths to deal with these issues)
- The sets you're interested in might not be available from the service at all
- You may have to wait a long time for popular sets
- The service may not be available in your locality
- Your financial investment doesn't give you any long-term benefits (other than a building experience with a particular set)
- It may still be too costly for some (although still much cheaper than buying)
On the whole, the service is aimed at families with children rather than AFOLs. As such, it appears to be gaining ground and meeting a real need.
Its not for everyone, but those who just don't want to store the sets it makes sense. It is more aimed at the parent with a 6 year old who asks for LEGO sets every time they walk through Toys R Us. If you go to their page right now and click the vote banner at the top, the CEO's profile has a video that shows the cleaning process. Again, it is not for everyone.
I have considered having my 9 year old son attend Lego camps during the summer. Those camps can be really expensive. I just saw one at the University of Missouri. Look at these prices.
*****Space is limited to 15 kids and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Time for all camps: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Cost: 2-day camps: $175 (lunch, CD and insurance included) 3-day camps: $300 (lunch, CD and insurance included)*****
Now! This is the price for 2 and 3 days. With Pleygo you are allowed unlimited sets monthly for $15-$40 per month. Your child will be able to construct a multiple of sets in the comfort of his or her own home and be able to use the rest of the money for a neighborhood basketball camp or beading class or something else. I believe that the cost far outweighs anything like a Lego summer camp. Looking at the 3-day camps after paying those fees you will have paid for the entire year for Pleygo's subscription in but only have access for 3 days versus 365. Totally something to think about especially if you are looking for summer activities, you see? I see mega savings!