After 12 years of surviving as a Flash game for web browsers, Club Penguin is moving to the $36 billion mobile business.
Disney today launched Club Penguin Island for iOS and Android. The subscription-based app is designed to give kids a social space where they can interact with others via their penguin avatars. It costs $5 a month and promises a safe place for children to interact digitally with each other. Club Penguin Island has a free seven-day trial.
The launch also brings the closing of the original Club Penguin. While that 2005 game has certainly aged, it has had a devoted following throughout its life. The move makes sense, since many kids play games on their phones (children under 13 spend at least 2 hours a day playing mobile games, according to the NPD Group). Still, this transition could be a somber moment for some of Club Penguin’s oldest fans.
“I think we have some absolutely rabid fans who’ve been around for the entire life of the Club Penguin brand. They’re very sad to see classic going,” Jim Molinet, vice president of kids and casual games at Disney, told GamesBeat. “They’re curious about the next opportunity for Club Penguin is, though. Even the people who used to engage with Club Penguin as a brand and have moved on to different products, from both the web and the mobile versions, they’re starting to engage again, just to see what’s going to happen. It’s been very unique. The outpouring of emotion doesn’t surprise us, because our fans have always been passionate and emotional.”
Old Club Penguin fans will have a way to show their devotion. They can register their old usernames for the new game, and they’ll get a jacket that their avatar can wear that displays how many years old their account is.