After nearly 12 years online, the Club Penguin team has announced that it is ending support for the social MMO Club Penguin to make way for a new mobile spinoff called Club Penguin Island.
While the closure of the traditional Club Penguin may mark the end of an era for a generation of kids who grew up in the social space, the shift towards a mobile game like Island reflects what many developers already know about the attractiveness of the mobile market for games created with kids in mind.
Originally launched in 2005 by New Horizon Interactive, Club Penguin was purchased by Disney in 2007 as part of a $700 million deal. At the time, the game boasted over 30 million registered user accounts.
In the years since, Club Penguin has seen both missed profit goals and a round of layoffs, but the game still attracts users by the millions. According to data gathered by TechCrunch, Club Penguin saw 5.6 million visitors in December of 2016, down from 7.4 million in July 2016.
As of today, Club Penguin will no longer be offering paid memberships and existing paid members will only be able to play to the end of their membership end date, provided they log in to the service sometime between January 31 and March 29. Those without a paid membership will only have access until March 29.