The Danish company LEGO has always proven itself capable of reinventing itself. However, 3D printing poses the biggest challenge LEGO has ever had to face. By opening up to a digital marketplace for its models it will expose itself to the same risk of digital piracy that hit the content industry. And yet digital distribution of its toys could open up enormous new business opportunities and allow it to reach new potential customers (as it did for the content industry).
Will it be a risk or an opportunity? Even though fair competition is welcomed by LEGO, they will need to keep an eye on how 3D printing is used commercially. Naturally this will have a strong impact on pricing policies that, as it stands, are a bit high for LEGO toys, as they were for music, movies and videogames before the Internet. Resisting may be futile and LEGO will certainly find the best way to make 3D printing a resource rather than an issue.
Even though 3D printing is technologies are currently used at LEGO to develop prototypes, they are not about to get into direct manufacturing through 3D printing any time soon.