'Star Wars' Takes Over Disney's Club

After Marvel's superheroes and Pixar's 'Monsters University' took over Disney's virtual world for kids, 'Star Wars' becomes site's biggest synergistic event

The Force is with Club Penguin: After launching successful “parties” based around Marvel’s superheroes and Pixar’s “Monsters University,” Disney is turning its virtual world for kids over to “Star Wars.”

On July 25, the online game will begin hosting its largest “party” to date, with available costumes, games and rooms in Club Penguin themed around characters and settings from the “Star Wars” films for three weeks. Event will be the longest that Club Penguin has offered its young members.

Club Penguin has long hosted the parties as a way to keep kids coming back to the game, which is the top ranked virtual world for kids, but also as a way to attract new players and boost revenue from the sale of monthly memberships and virtual goods. Memberships start at $5 per month. More than 200 million penguins have been created.

In the events, that take place each month, the parties (tied to holidays or popular Penguin characters) theme buildings and interiors on the Club Penguin island, change the music, and offer players new costumes or decorations for their on-screen penguin characters, among other enhancements. 

Over the past year, Disney Interactive, which oversees Club Penguin, has increasingly turned to its corporate parent for more synergistic crossovers.

Club Penguin’s managers have also given the sponsored events more playtime, with the events lasting two weeks at a time. Marvel was the first Disney branded crossover last summer, followed by “Monsters University.”

But the “Star Wars” event is Club Penguin’s largest to date, timed with next week’s Comic-Con in San Diego.

The takeover involves 18 rooms, three mini games and 20 or more costumes for penguin characters. The “Star Wars” theme will also be offered on Club Penguin’s new mobile app, which has registered 1.5 million downloads since it was launched two months ago.

“The partnership with Lucasfilm has been amazing,” said Chris Heatherly, a Disney Interactive VP and head of Club Penguin. “They’ve given us a lot of creative latitutde and worked closely with us to make it faithful to the property.”

Club Penguin’s managers had long been approached by its users to integrate “Star Wars” into the virtual world and received even more requests when Disney bought Lucasfilm last year for $4 billion.

“We have been bombarded by kids since the Lucasfilm acquisition was announced,” Heatherly said. “We knew there was a lot of audience demand out there. The Lucas guys understood that. And now we’re offering ‘Star Wars’ because we can.”

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