Today I just wanted to explore some different kinds of topics on this Blog. Some in which I have not blogged about in my career even though I would like to. Sometimes I can be a very opinionated Penguin. The only form of posts I have expressed my opinions in are my party reviews however I thought it would be nice to step outside of the island for a bit and think about Club Penguin as a massive virtual world for kids.
Okay, I admit; I am not at all good with facts and figures on when Disney had bought Club Penguin and how much incline and decline there has been in traffic over the past years. I am not at all bothered to research it too because I know a lot of posts out there who provide details so copying will not do much good. My intentions with this post are to explore the journey Club Penguin has taken on ever since 2005. It has been a long one and it has been very interesting.
Back when Club Penguin was developing into something much bigger (The Big Update) it was surprisingly successful. Reasons for this were because Club Penguin took on a unique form of chat rooms and the visuals of the chat rooms helped to extend a world of imagination for kids. With Experimental Penguins (pre-Club Penguin) Lance Priebe did a good job with creating a world about Penguins even though the concepts were quite bland and the software was not as advanced as the current one Club Penguins runs on now. However back then, kids would have thought of Experimental Penguins as something big which was as a result of a new virtual world! Back then, the traffic was not as good as it is today, yet the whole point of this post is to illustrate how Club Penguin became something which appealed to more and more people until recent years.
During the Penguin Chat era, concepts were developing and more functions were included for a better experience. The picture of this virtual world for kids broadened right up to the Beta Test party as part of ‘The Big Update’. Club Penguin was given its name at the time and the idea of penguin personalities broke through as the sprites became customisable. Usually you would expect around this in a normal virtual world you get today: chat, exploration and some quests now and then. Club Penguin took on a better experience when parties were introduced and that (for me personally) is the key to why Club Penguin has been admired by many people. Parties have been going on for nearly a decade as we are soon to approach the 10th Anniversary of Club Penguin this October. Even when the chat rooms were still in the process of development, parties helped to fit the experience and provided unique fun for kids to get involved with the story of Club Penguin.
It was a shame that I only joined Club Penguin around September, 2008 since before then, the community really pushed Club Penguin to be what it is today. It must have been a tough journey however it was worth it since I can imagine that the traffic more than doubled from around when I joined. From my findings, I believe it was around 2008 – 2011 when Club Penguin was reaching something spectacular in its status. It won many awards and obviously it was more recognised since Disney bought it early August, 2007. At the time, this was seen as a massive and positive leap into the future and I still think the efforts were paid off. There is a reason why people dislike Club Penguin presently and that is after they have noticed what happened to the journey since.
Taking on a bigger company know world wide is a massive opportunity and it was almost a reward for Club Penguin to take it. Disney recognised the efforts the team had put into the virtual world and offered the $700,000,000 deal. This encouraged the team to become partners and this was respectable back then. Disney has been quite loyal to Club Penguin since it made it most popular for around 3 years. Ever since 2012, Disney had decided to take on a different approach. After withholding these for a couple of years, the community are getting sick of the word “takeovers”. In other words, the most respectable element of Club Penguin had finally been manipulated into something still worthy but disliked. Disney decided to use Club Penguin to help advertise movies and these were expressed through the forms of parties. The first ever takeover to take place was the MARVEL Super Heroes Takeover. I am not a very big fan of MARVEL but I respect their awesome films and the comics. A lot of Disney lovers like MARVEL so the opportunity to bring it to Club Penguin was to widen the experience for MARVEL lovers who can not experience this on any other virtual world. The first takeover wasn’t that bad; in fact most people didn’t mind that much however it was when Disney and the team started to allow more of them which made the community a bit unhappy.
The Club Penguin Community who stuck with Club Penguin from the near beginning of their journey even stick with them today. People find it hard to get used to the fact that Disney Interactive have a lot of control over Club Penguin so I guess some people think that it was a mistake letting Disney get involved. Personally? I think Club Penguin should have gone ahead with the deal. They have and it was worth it while it lasted. It is not like Disney have ruined the Club Penguin experience. In my eyes, they helped to save Club Penguin from plummeting to its end earlier than it would without their help. The way business in this world works may seem unfair however nothing lasts forever. Ever since people have left Club Penguin or have become inactive as a result of Disney is making it worse as these actions have worse consequences. Everyone moves on in life and a majority of the people who have left Club Penguin are probably growing up. The only problem is that the community is becoming weaker than it was when Club Penguin was starting off. Today there seems to be some kind of grudge which is limiting the loyalty of the community which have a lot of impact on the survival of Club Penguin in this world.
Traffic has been declining on the whole. Club Penguin is dying. It is sad but true. I wouldn’t blame Disney at all however they have been responsible for laying off several staff and breaking down the accessibility of Club Penguin in places such as Germany and Russia – who only just joined early last year! It does sound very concerning and appalling but taking a look at the bigger picture makes you realise that nothing lasts forever. The rate in which people are joining Club Penguin is currently not as high as it used to be before and it has been like this for a while now. Like I described earlier, it is a grudge between the community and Disney which has contributed to the fall of Club Penguin and not many seem to realise it. New players are probably stereotypically convinced that Club Penguin is dominated by Disney when it is actually to do with growing up and that Club Penguin is quite old now. I think Club Penguin has done amazingly well with its lifespan and the developing team of Club Penguin has made this possible.
I predict that after this year, Club Penguin is going to increasingly fall apart. Evidence of this was when staff were laid off in the Kelowna offices. Chris Gliddon is very missed by many of the community since he was previously community manager so the fact that this big role in the team had changed, must have affected the community. Megg (new community manager) is doing a great job to keep up morale however! Another piece of evidence is that Club Penguin is not able to keep up with its languages and that is as a result of lack of money provided by Disney Interactive. Other possible reasons to explain why Disney Interactive is lacking support for Club Penguin could be due to other projects going on like Disney Infinity and mobile apps. This pattern should carry on unless something big is going to change it.
There have been comments from the team saying that big things are coming to Club Penguin. #ProjectSuperSecret and #CPNext are the latest trends which are completely anonymous to a majority of the community. It seems to promise big things to change in Club Penguin which could also be a reason to why Club Penguin has not been particularly strong over the past couple of years. We do now that #ProjectSuperSecret is experimenting with advanced technology to bring a different kind of experience to Club Penguin players. We have had a sneak peek from Riyita who managed to visit the Kelowna Offices so shout out to Riyita who has provided the community with something interesting for the future of Club Penguin. From what it looks like, similar technology from when Club Penguin had upgraded to mobile could be used to make a clothing customiser. This is thought to be the case since the penguin sprite in the sneak peek is 3D and the span of the video fits the dimensions of a mobile screen. Some people are guessing that this is going to part of an extra big update to the visuals of Club Penguin on the web or an upgrade to technology to run Club Penguin on the web and mobile. I still can’t guess what #ProjectSuperSecret is about but from the sneak peek, I can only judge that a better experience with new technology is coming to provide a better experience to Club Penguin.
Does this mean that Club Penguin is going to be saved? I can’t really judge that either. It depends on what the project is and the fact this it is super secret makes it much more exciting but I hope it will be BIG enough to save Club Penguin from dying anytime soon. With new technology, Club Penguin could definitely advance the experience and transform Club Penguin into something much better however it is controversial whether the next big update to Club Penguin will move on from what Club Penguin used to be and change it into something different. I am interested in what they are planning but as far as I can see, a new decade to Club Penguin may bring a new era with technology. Club Penguin is likely to die soon. Club Penguin may be brought back to life however it may not be Club Penguin anymore. It is time to expect something much bigger. Are you excited or scared?