Disney Shutting Down Club Penguin Island by End of 2018
Disney has announced that Club Penguin Island will be shutting down for good, marking the end of the long-running children’s MMO.
A post was released on the official Club Penguin Island blog with the following announcement:
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.
Thanks to you, Club Penguin has been more than a game; it’s been a global community where you have gathered to socialize and express yourselves. In a time when games come and go within months, it was one of the longest-running kids’ games of all time and at its height, had over 200 million accounts. Players from countries around the world showed their commitment to the game by adopting 25 million Puffles and creating over 200,000 videos.
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.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued dedication to the Club Penguin and Club Penguin Island games and for being a member of our family. We are so grateful to have shared in this journey with you. We’re excited to bring you more new experiences around all of Disney’s beloved characters and stories across all platforms.
Disney will also be laying off the development staff from Kelowna, British Columbia, where the game is made. One former employee of the team spoke with Kotaku and said, “There aren’t many opportunities in a city like Kelowna, so most of us will have to move our families if we want to pursue games. It’s a huge blow to all of us.”
Club Penguin Island launched in March of last year, serving as the successor to the original web-based Club Penguin, which was shut down the day before Club Penguin Island released.
Kotaku managed to get their hands on a letter from Disney to the development team in Canada in regards to the game’s cancellation, which reads, “For several years now, we have been experiencing increasing global competition. We have explored many options to improve efficiency and reduce costs. These measures have succeeded to some extent. However, in order to reduce costs further and become more competitive, we find that we must reduce our workforce.”
An anonymous former employee responded to Kotaku noting that the news came out of nowhere due to the team’s understanding that they would have the opportunity to work on a new project, in the wake of Club Penguin Island‘s middling success. The former employee said, “We were told three weeks ago that we’d been green-lit and would have jobs for at least 2 years while we built and launched a new product! The whole studio was basically popping champagne, only to have that pulled out from under us by someone way up the chain at Disney.”
The letter from Disney infers that one month’s severance and benefits for former employees will be offered.
Our thoughts are with those affected by the shuttering of Club Penguin Island. As always CP fans, waddle on.