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Disney shuts down Club Penguin

Original kid-friendly virtual world going dark, to be replaced by mobile-exclusive Club Penguin Island in March

One of the longest running online worlds for kids will be closed after more than decade. Disney announced yesterday that the browser-based free-to-play game Club Penguin is shutting down for good on March 29.

While the flagship product of the franchise is going dark, the Club Penguin brand "will be transitioning to an entirely new platform" with a new mobile-exclusive game, Club Penguin Island, due out in some regions this March.

"We are deeply grateful for your time and enthusiasm since the beginning," a representative said in the blog post announcing the shutdown, "and we'd like to thank each and every one of you in the Club Penguin community - we can't wait for you to see what's coming next."

New Horizons Interactive launched Club Penguin in October of 2005, and built the game into an early North American free-to-play success story. Disney acquired the game for at least $350 million in 2007, with another $350 million to be paid out if the game hit earnings targets within the following two years. At the time of the acquisition, the game boasted 700,000 paying subscribers, with a player base in the millions.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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