One year after its official launch, children’s MMO Club Penguin Island will be officially shutting down. It initially released on mobile platforms in March 2017, not long after the original Club Penguin MMO had shut down, with a PC release that made the move from Adobe Flash to Unity coming later in November 2017.
Kotaku reports that employees at the studio responsible for developing Club Penguin Island were informed of the shutdown on Tuesday through a letter from Disney HR that was leaked to the outlet. The letter mentions increased global competition alongside the need to become more competitive which required reducing the workforce. One former employee told the outlet the following: “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,”.
Another former employee told Kotaku that while it was known that Club Penguin Island wasn’t doing particularly well, the studio had continued pitching projects: “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,”. An unfortunate turn of events, without doubt.
Disney has posted a statement on the game’s website which reads: “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.”