Why Did Club Penguin Shut Down?

Club Penguin was a multiplayer online game player who could take on the role of penguin characters who could participate in various games, communicate with other players, and even adopt pets.

Club Penguin was one of the most popular and widely played Disney games of all time for about a decade before its closure in 2017. 

Club Penguin Online has been the most well-known and successful of the many fan-made clones that have been developed as a result of the game’s popularity.

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, substantial traffic poured into this website.

Club Penguin was shut down after player interest in the game steadily declined, resulting in a dramatic drop in revenue.

What Was Club Penguin?

Club Penguin was a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game in which gamers took on the role of penguins.

When the player’s character has completed the tutorial, he can play different video games, enter (chat) rooms, and even adopt pets (called puffles).

The game was designed for a younger demographic, specifically youngsters aged six to fourteen. In contrast, older gamers could access the game without restriction.

A player can also design a persona for their penguin. The game offered you the opportunity to customize the appearance of a penguin by purchasing add-on clothing.

These add-ons could be purchased using in-game coins earned by playing games, completing tasks, or entering contests.

Why Did Club Penguin Shut Down

A player can also become a member, giving him access to specific games, apparel, and more.

Club Penguin requires that customers pay a monthly subscription fee to become members.

Many servers were hosting the game, and each server could accommodate a certain number of players. There are a maximum of 300 players on each server.

The purpose of Club Penguin was to foster player connection through regular parties and events centered around themed holidays (e.g., New Year’s Day).

Most of the game’s features were accessed and played through a web browser. As time went on, apps were developed on Android and iOS for mobile phones and tablets.

Why Did Club Penguin Shut Down?

Club Penguin shut down due to waning player interest in the game, which most certainly resulted in a significant drop in revenue.

The fundamental cause for Club Penguin’s demise was its inability to adapt to a world dominated by mobile devices.

Around the turn of the century, several of the league’s most prominent players began using social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends outside the league.

In addition to using a smartphone to access these sites rather than a computer browser, smartphones are becoming increasingly popular for doing so.

In 2007, four years after purchasing the company, Disney released its first Club Penguin application at the same time as the iPhone was introduced.

Additionally, the cost of operating Club Penguin was fairly expensive. Previously, the corporation employed around 200 moderators responsible for frequently monitoring the game’s chat areas.

This was a necessary step since Disney could not be linked with a game that exposed youngsters to profanity and actors potentially dangerous to them.

Club Penguin was designed to appeal to a specific population, especially youngsters aged 6 to 14, and it was continuously improving its aesthetics and game mechanics to meet their needs.

Games-making platforms that encourage individuals to create their games, such as Roblox, have done a better job of maintaining their relevance over time.

It is clear from Disney’s previous game releases that the company lacks the internal resources necessary to deliver quality games and patches to players consistently.

What Happened To Club Penguin?

Club Penguin was formerly based in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. In 2005, Lance Priebe, Dave Krysko, and Lane Merrifield came up with the idea for the Club Penguin.

Club Penguin’s three founders had a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the video game industry before starting their firm.

Even though Lance Priebe’s professional life was not without its problems, he managed to overcome them. In July 2000, he began work on Snow Blasters, an online snowball combat game where penguins are the main characters.

Following a cartoon depiction of a penguin tripping on a banana in his local newspaper, Priebe was inspired to include penguins in his work.

Because penguins were relatively simple to animate, the development of the character could go more quickly.

Snow Blasters, on the other hand, have never gone away. His attention was diverted to developing a new game, Experimental Penguins.

A few weeks later, Priebe’s firm, RocketSnail Games, released the game under the supervision of Krysko (Priebe’s supervisor).

The experimental penguins were likewise unable to take flight. This game was scrambled a year after it was first released and served as another source of inspiration.

A follow-up to Experimental Penguins, Penguin Chat was released by RocketSnail shortly after.

Later, as updated versions of the game, Penguin Chat 2 and Penguin Chat 3 were made available for download.

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The games themselves were a huge success, attracting more than one million participants.

However, the difficulty with all of these games was that they were not considered safe for children, which was a huge drawback.

They were highly concerned about the safety of their children because all three of the company’s founders had children.

Many web properties at the time, including well-known ones such as Friendster, advertised dubious-looking banners because they were the only source of revenue for many of them, including Friendster.com itself.

Merrifield and Priebe approached Krysko about creating a spinoff firm to develop this safer version of the product. Within a short time, the firm New Horizon Interactive was established.

It was in 2005 that the creation of Club Penguin began.

Originally known as Penguin Chat 3, the game evolved into Penguin Chat 4, was released in April 2005, and is internally referred to as Penguin Chat 3.

On August 22nd, 2005, the first beta version of the game was released to test the server capacity of the developers.

Approximately 15,000 gamers attended the testing event, which was made possible by Penguin Chat’s established fan following.

Club Penguin was eventually launched on the 24th of October, 2005, two months after it was first announced.

Why Did Club Penguin Shut Down

The game spread like wildfire throughout the community. After launching in November 2006, less than a year after its launch, Club Penguin has attracted more than 2 million monthly subscribers.

They had turned down lucrative advertising opportunities from businesses such as Google to keep the site free of banner advertisements.

For the most part, word-of-mouth spreads the news about the site, whether from parents conversing with one another or children encouraging their peers to join.

Aside from that, the game was made available on Miniclip.com, which was a well-known distributor of free online games, which contributed to its widespread popularity. The popularity of the game has grown due to films such as Happy Feet.

Reports surfaced in May 2007 that several companies were interested in acquiring the game’s bootstrapped creators and expanding their operations.

When Club Penguin was launched, it was one of the most popular social networking sites, ranking alongside Facebook and Myspace.

Several months later, in August, these rumors were proven correct. Club Penguin’s parent company, New Horizon Interactive, was acquired by Disney for a whopping $350 million in cash and another $350 million in earnouts. The latter is subject to the achievement of specified performance goals.

Because its founders were wholly self-funded, they could equitably distribute the $350 million.

Club Penguin gave a portion of its income ($35 million) to the cause to support its foundations.

Certainly, a steep price to pay, but the return on the investment was well worth the effort. 

Because it had 700,000 paying subscribers and 12 million active users, it was predicted that Club Penguin would generate $65 million in sales and $35 million in profit in 2007.

The only change was the game’s rebranding to Disney’s Club Penguin, which was the only change.

The acquisition was made as part of Disney’s broader digitization plan, including investments in, acquisitions, and operations of various children-focused social networks and gaming platforms.

However, Disney’s investment spawned a flood of cloned platforms, all of which met with varying degrees of success.

Nonetheless, the acquisition had a detrimental effect on Club Penguin’s growth, which stayed flat for months following the acquisition.

Two additional macro trends further exacerbated the difficulty of the game. It was the first for many parents in a long time that they were forced to cancel their subscriptions due to the financial crisis.

Second, the iPhone’s launch resulted in the growth of mobile-based games in preference to traditional browser titles.

Club Penguin was launched for the Nintendo DS in December 2008 as a countermeasure to this trend.

Sadly, Club Penguin could not achieve its profit projections due to this revenue growth.

Thus, the founders did not meet the projected earnings and were not eligible for the second $350 million payment.

Krysko and Priebe left Disney in 2010 when enthusiasm waned, and there was no money to be made.

Merrifield, a self-described “Disney geek” who began his career working in Disneyland’s parades, remained on to oversee Disney’s Interactive division as Senior Vice President.

A blunder occurred in June 2011 in the game. Disney failed to renew the game’s domain name, causing the site to be unavailable for several hours.

The company released its first iPhone app in September for $0.99.

The game, however, was not the Club Penguin version, but one called Puffle Launch. This game was similar to Angry Birds, and Club Penguin’s beloved puffles served as weapons (just like Angry Birds’ various birds).

The number of Club Penguin accounts had surpassed 150 million by October 2011.

Disney hired over 200 content moderators to monitor the game’s chat rooms to protect them from predators.

Club Penguin magazine was published in February 2012 by Disney in the United Kingdom, and digital penguin characters based on Marvel heroes were published in June 2012 by Disney.

Merrifield chose to withdraw from the company despite the firm’s investments. He officially turned over the keys to long-serving Disney executive Chris Heatherly in October 2012.

Its popularity gradually declined despite having grown to 200 million registered users. As a result of Heatherly’s acquisition, monthly traffic decreased from 8.5 million in December 2009 to 3.3 million in December 2010.

Club Penguin maintained a strong following despite decreased traffic, largely owing to parents’ willingness to pay monthly subscription fees.

Consequently, Disney began introducing new events, such as a Star Wars celebration in July 2013.

Many people thought it was too late for Disney to develop an app on smartphones and tablets, but they did it in December 2013.

Club Penguin continued to generate a sizable amount of revenue consistently in the following years.

The game made news again in November 2016, following Trump’s election as president.

Penguins walking through the streets had “My body my choice” and “Not my president” painted on their heads.

Club Penguin Island, a new app-based version of the game, was introduced by Disney in January 2017 and will be shut down on March 30, 2017. Despite increased public attention, this was inevitable:

The closure saddened some fans, but the game’s developers ended it on a high note.

For years, the iceberg in the chart corner had been the subject of conspiracy theories. 

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There was some speculation as to whether or not the game could be turned around if a sufficient number of players stood on one side.

The game’s designers finally revealed how to tip it through a trivia challenge.

“Together, we can build an island, form a community, change the world… ” It’s possible even to break an iceberg’s surface. “Swim on.”

There was a sequel to Club Penguin Island, but it didn’t live up to expectations. Disney said in September 2018 that the game would be discontinued immediately.

It’s interesting to note that Club Penguin Rewritten and Club Penguin Online was created due to the shutdown.

As a result, the creators could create a near-identical duplicate of the original Club Penguin game.

The only thing that set them apart from the usual game was their twist on it.

As a result, the copycats lacked any language filters or content monitoring of any kind. Furthermore, no consideration was given to player safety when creating these games.

For example, Club Penguin Rewritten was hacked in August of this year, resulting in the exposure of four million member profiles.

1.7 million compromised accounts following an earlier hacker attack in January 2018.

The Disney company filed for a DMCA takedown request in May 2020 to stop an online copycat, Club Penguin Online (found at online.pw).

The other clone sites continued to thrive despite the shutdown. The year 2020, in particular, sparked a resurgence of interest in the game among millions of former players who had begun attending college.

Many people relied on it to stay in touch with friends and family when cooped up at home.

Will Club Penguin Ever Come Back?

Club Penguin is not likely to return to its original Disney-owned version for the reasons outlined in this chapter.

Disney is nearly entirely focused on growing its streaming service Disney+ makes it less likely that the company will relaunch the game.

Club Penguin Island, however, remains the property of Disney, despite it having been subsequently launched.

Despite this, there are numerous imitation copies of the game available today. For example, Club Penguin Rewritten represents near-exactly the same game as in 2010.

Club Penguin Rewritten even produces branded materials, such as apparel and events, to keep its player base interested.