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Disney to Shut Down Club Penguin Island by End of 2018, Lays Off Staff

Disney tried to save the Club Penguin kids multiplayer gaming franchise with a mobile reboot last yearClub Penguin Island — but now has decided to shut down the whole thing.

“There’s no easy way to say this but after 13 incredible years, Club Penguin will be sunsetting at the end of this year,” Club Penguin Island wrote in a notice to subscribers Thursday.

Disney acquired Club Penguin in 2007 in a deal reportedly worth up to $700 million. At one point, Club Penguin had more than 200 million registered accounts on the subscription-based service aimed at young kids. (Disney has not recently disclosed subscriber numbers.)

According to gaming news site Kotaku, several dozen employees at Club Penguin’s studio in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, were informed on Tuesday that they would be losing their jobs as a result of the decision to shutter the game.

Disney has offered some features of Club Penguin Island for free, like letting players build an igloo and attend special events, as in the predecessor game. For full membership, Club Penguin Island was priced at $4.99 per month — well below the previous Club Penguin cost of $7.95 per month.

When Disney announced the shutdown of the original Club Penguin game in January 2017, the company said it was building a new mobile-only platform for the new Club Penguin Island game, in a bid to attract new users that are predominantly using smartphones. In a nutshell, Disney believed it was going to be more feasible and cost effective to create something from scratch rather than try to retrofit the systems that powered the service for more than a decade.

Club Penguin’s Sept. 27 notice about the shutdown said it will be providing players “with all the necessary information in the coming weeks via in-game messages and updates here on Island News.”

According to the Club Penguin team, fans of the game had adopted some 25 million Puffles — the fuzzy in-game pets — and created more than 200,000 videos over the life of the game.

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