Yesterday, Disney announced that they would be shutting down the mobile children’s MMO Club Penguin Island. This marks the end of the long-running franchise, which was been running in various forms since 2005.
This Tuesday, the employees at Club Penguin Island’s studio, based in Kelowna, British Columbia, were informed that their game, a continuation of the browser-based children’s MMO Club Penguin, will be shutting down and they would be let go. A letter from Disney HR, which was leaked to Kotaku, explained that the company has been facing more global competition in the last several years. They’ve explored a variety of options that have somewhat succeeded at reducing costs and boosting efficiency. However, they’ve found that they must reduce their workforce to be more competitive and further reduce expenses. The letter also suggests that employees received about five weeks of severance pay and benefits for one month.
Meanwhile, the Club Penguin Island blog made an official announcement to the player base:
There’s no easy way to say this but after 13 incredible years, Club Penguin will be sunsetting at the end of this year. We’ll be providing players with all the necessary information in the coming weeks via in-game messages and updates here on Island News.
When we replaced the original Club Penguin game a year and a half ago, we always strived to make Club Penguin Island the best mobile successor to the original game. From day one of development, Club Penguin Island has been a true passion project for everyone here at Disney but, the time has come for the party to end.
Club Penguin was a browser-based MMO made back in 2005. Disney purchased the virtual world for $700 million back in 2007. The game managed to stay afloat until it shut down in 2017 and replaced with Club Penguin Island, but not before people commemorated the game they grew up with in a variety of ways, including what may be one of the world’s most interesting version of a speedrun.