Waddling on from an online phenomenon: The igloo melts


Michael Riggi, Layout Manager

As of March 29, the once-popular online world of Club Penguin will freeze its doors shut in order to make way for a new mobile app.

“Club Penguin Island,” the company’s answer to the gradually decreasing number of interactive players on the website, is a new smartphone app designed to cater to a “new generation” of mobile audiences.

The new app and the closure of the website itself mark a new milestone for a generation of kids and teenagers growing up in the virtual word, as the game had consumed the lives of many users and acted as an introduction to the endless limits of communication on computers.

Initially in beta testing with projects such as “Experimental Penguins,” Club Penguin later launched in 2005 and was purchased by Disney two years later. Immediately, the online world was a success, as it offered personalized accounts for users to manage and build upon that they could share with friends and other players.  

With its peak of 200 million accounts in 2013, the fanbase had generated high revenue for its parent company. Gradually, the virtual world became somewhat of an extended promotion for Disney, hosting themed parties around film releases such as “Frozen” and “Star Wars.”

Yet the website was still known for highly creative characters, games, clothing, decorations, and monthly parties that would bring an online community together and allow players to interact with one another.

Whether it be sneaking around on stealthy spy missions, battling enemies in the high mountains of a dojo, or decorating igloos with friends, Club Penguin inspired a large and unique devoted fan base over its 12 year run.

Club Penguin’s fan base has also helped change communities in the real world, as the annual “Coins for Change” promotion at the December Holiday parties has donated to organizations such as “Free the Children” and the “Wildlife Conservation Network.”

Slowly losing some of its fan base and players over time, Disney has decided to end the website’s long run on a high note after compensating for their $700 million purchase of the past through memberships, toys, books, and more.

In the last celebration party leading up to March 29, those involved with Club Penguin have made sure to show appreciation for the fans and encourage them to keep the community close to them in the future. “Together, we can build an island, create a community, change the world … and even tip an iceberg. Waddle on.”

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