Club Penguin is shutting down

Important Announcement Regarding Club Penguin on Desktop and Mobile Devices

Hello penguins,

As you know, over the past few years, we’ve been hard at work developing an entirely new Club Penguin experience for mobile. With this next chapter, we will be launching an amazing new product, Club Penguin Island, that offers a uniquely penguin experience, with new features and gameplay, making it more fun than ever.

As part of the launch of Club Penguin Island in March, we will be transitioning to an entirely new platform, and, we’ve made the decision to discontinue the current Club Penguin game on desktop and mobile devices on March 29, 2017.

We’ll be celebrating the first 11 years with you with a huge party starting February 1, 2017. Here's a little sneak peek of what you can expect at the party:

And here’s what you need to know about the closure:
  • Memberships for desktop Club Penguin and the Club Penguin app will no longer be available for purchase as of Jan. 31, 2017. From Jan. 31 until Mar. 29, 2017, current paid members can log in and continue to enjoy full-unlimited access until their original membership end date.
  • As of Jan. 31, 2017, paid member accounts will no longer be charged a recurring payment for desktop Club Penguin and the Club Penguin app.
  • Emails will be sent to current paid members with further information about membership including refund details.
  • If you do not currently have a Club Penguin membership, you can continue to log in and enjoy the game as you were previously, until March 29, 2017.
Players in select languages and territories are welcome to pre-register their new penguin name on Club Penguin Island to receive exclusive in-game rewards when they log in for the first time. You have until Feb. 16, 2017, to pre-register here.

We are deeply grateful for your time and enthusiasm since the beginning, and we’d like to thank each and every one of you in the Club Penguin community – we can’t wait for you to see what’s coming next.

Club Penguin, the Disney-owned social network for kids, announced this morning it’s shutting down. In its place, the company will launch a new product for mobile, Club Penguin Island, which has been in development over the past several years. Club Penguin Island will launch in March, while the Club Penguin game on the desktop and mobile devices will shut down on March 29, 2017.

The closure is a bittersweet milestone for a certain generation – those who grew up with computers and the internet, and learned to socialize online through Club Penguin’s virtual world.

Started in 2005, the site featured avatars of animated penguins (hence the name), that lived in its online world. Users could play games, chat, and build their home with virtual accessories. The company sold to Disney in 2007, in a deal that then valued the business at $700 million. At the time, it had over 12 million users. By 2013, that number had grown to 200 million, though there’s some indication that visitors have been on the decline.

According to one traffic measurement source, SimilarWeb, the site saw 5.6 million visitors as of December, 2016 – and that figure was down from 7.4 million in July, 2016. The U.S., however, was still the primarily source of that traffic, driving over a quarter of the total visits to the site.

Meanwhile, on mobile, the iOS app had dropped to #595 in the Games category, and had consistently been ranked in the 400’s or 500’s, with an occasional bounce into the 300’s, over the past couple of years, as well.

The problem for Club Penguin, which was aimed at younger children and tweens primarily, is that there are now so many apps vying for kids’ attention. Even if they’re not lying about their age in order to join sites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, there are other places for kids to engage online, including YouTube, Nickelodeon’s properties, PBS Kids, and elsewhere. Plus, there are app stores filled with games to divert kids’ attention.

The new site, Club Penguin Island, will look to recapture kids’ interest, with a modern-day take on the original virtual world, but one’s that focused on mobile. Though related, Club Penguin Island is its own, standalone app – players can’t bring items or coins from the old site to the new one. Their Club Penguin membership will also not transfer over to the new property.

Club Penguin was a significant online property, which led to the development of fan sites, wikis, and other online communities for its players over the years. However, it was more recently in the news for being home to an online anti-Trump protest from elementary schoolers – a notable reminder that today’s political upheaval is being felt even by the youngest in the U.S.

Club Penguin Island is currently offering pre-registration, so kids can reserve their new penguin’s name in advance of its March release.

Club Penguin set to close, breaking millennial hearts worldwide

One of the most popular — and most kid-friendly — massively multiplayer online games is going offline this spring. Club Penguin, Disney’s long-running, browser-based MMO, will shut down on March 29 as the company transitions to a mobile-only experience based on the property, according to a post on the game’s website.

Club Penguin Island will replace the current desktop and app-based versions of Club Penguin. The team behind the franchise referred to it as “an entirely new Club Penguin experience for mobile” on its website, although how it differs from the original game is still unknown.

Premium members will be able to keep logging into the browser-based Club Penguin until March 29, according to the site’s shutdown notice. They’ll no longer be charged for the service, however, and no new memberships can be purchased starting today.

First launched in October 2005, Club Penguin is a community of penguin avatars who roam an antarctic world. The social platform, which is akin to other flash-based kids games like Habbo Hotel and Neopets, encourages players to hang out at various parties and play minigames together as well. One last party kicks off Feb. 1, the team teased in its announcement.

More notable than its child-appropriate ragers, though, is Club Penguin’s chat function. Players have used it to sometimes stunning effect over the years, like one recent, viral happening. In November, users staged an in-game protest against then-President Elect Donald Trump.

It’s unclear whether this was the work of some preternaturally political preteens or older users, but the news that Club Penguin is closing down has many older fans in mourning. For the players who have since aged out of the game, which is aimed at kids between six and 12, Club Penguin’s imminent end marks the heartbreaking end of an era.

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