Club Penguin Closes To Make Way For Club Penguin Island

Club Penguin is dead. Long live Club Penguin!

After nearly 12 years, Disney has shuttered its uber-popular social MMO, replacing it with a (relatively) high-tech mobile sequel. Like the first Club Penguin, Club Penguin Island lets players control flightless waterfowl in a colorful, fun virtual world. Unlike its predecessor, Club Penguin Island features modern 3D graphics and a brand new quest system, and gives players the ability to design their own clothing—which, given that lots of Club Penguin's activities involve customizing your penguin avatar and his or her home, is a pretty big deal.

While the first Club Penguin was primarily a PC title, Club Penguin Island was built for smartphones and tablets from the ground up. Currently, Disney, which bought Club Penguin for $700 million in 2007, hasn't announced plans for a PC edition of Club Penguin Island, meaning that some of Club Penguin's 20 million players might find the relocation process a little difficult, at least in the short term.

As a new game, Club Penguin Island wipes the slate clean, resetting everyone's accounts back to the beginning. That means that, if you've spent the past 12 years collecting Club Penguin's coins and other special items, you'll have to start all over again from the beginning. Ouch. Club Penguin Island is free, although a $4.99 monthly subscription unlocks special features including exclusive quests and a zip line that lets users traverse Club Penguin Island much faster.

The original Club Penguin, which was a mix of a traditional game and an enhanced social network, launched in 2005 and immediately became a major hub for children and teenagers, thanks largely to its parent-friendly child-safety features and robust customization options. While the game wasn't quite as popular as it used to be, in December 2016 it was still attracting 5.6 million monthly users, and was home to a number of special events including last November's anti-Trump protest.

If you have kids who are making the transition from Club Penguin to Club Penguin Island, keep an eye on your wallet. Like its predecessor, Club Penguin Island is full of microtransactions, and you don't want your offspring to accidentally spend thousands of dollars on a game like these kids did (if you're spending all that money to customize your own igloo, though? More power to you).