On March 29th 2017, after a journey that lasted over a decade, the web version of Club Penguin was closed down in favour of Club Penguin Island, a decision that backfired quickly with the new mobile version receiving a significant amount of “hate” and criticism, obtaining a rating of less than three stars.
However, many people do still enjoy the game, citing that going mobile only is beneficial in the long run. In this post, I will be discussing my opinion (as well of the opinions of others) about the issues with Club Penguin Island and the impact which Club Penguin Rewritten is making on the official franchise.
Before I begin, Billybob (one of the three founders of Club Penguin) recently did an emotional talk about the web version. It’s 16 minutes long but I highly recommend watching this. It’s so nostalgic, emotional and even slightly upsetting, but overall it is an incredible talk. Please do watch it.
We ended up having this kind of real-time conversation that was happening with the community
Multiple former staff members, from Spike Hike to Billybob, have agreed with this. Maybe I’m the first to actually say this on a Club Penguin Island blog, but truthfully, there’s no longer that conversation. I’m just another fan, but I really believe that’s necessary and it can be restored. After many weeks, we recently had a meet-up where we can get the opportunity to communicate with the team. It filled up the server.
An absolutely amazing step was bringing back interaction via social media, specifically Twitter, something that was cut many years ago. But unfortunately, to me at least, that now seems like an exclusive platform. I know many players now believe that Support are now there purely to help you when something goes wrong, with some even thinking that the emails are a lot less personal and more just copy and paste.
Maybe this is also just me, but I know that the team does deeply care about the community, and that the closure of Club Penguin wasn’t just a “cashgrab” like some people claim it to be. This is what Megg, our community manager, told me a few months ago and I believe it’s absolutely accurate.
I love to hear from penguins just like yourself, that’s the reason I got into blogging
The disappointing thing is that the number of blogs has undeniably decreased and this isn’t exclusive to blogging, it feels like that less and less players are truly getting involved in the game, whether that be just commenting on the official blog to even making your own blog. But it’s a necessity that the community increases. Businessmoose, a very well-known former staff member, said this.
So now that bugs have been fixed and I can actually get past the tutorial I can see the potential! It’s gonna be up to the players now.
Let’s not talk about the players who hate the game just yet, but the average player who plays the game fairly regularly. Discussion about Club Penguin Island is only really fairly significant when two things happen: leaks or updates.
Now in classic Club Penguin, this would be fine due to an update every week with cool new stuff. I also equally understand that a monthly update for CPI since it is a mobile game is far more reasonable. But there has to be something other than a sneak peek speed round that brings back that excitement whilst continuing that conversation.
Realistically, I don’t see the Club Penguin Times returning nor do I see this idea getting more readers than the New York Times but it is just an idea. Maybe more frequent, more personal newsletters via email sharing what’s coming, stories from characters, information from the team? I don’t know if it”s the right answer, it’s just a rough idea, but something needs to happen.
Now we get to the more messy part…although the community is becoming less active, the whole point of Club Penguin Island was to target the “new generations of kids”, believing that desktop gaming is dead and that this is the idea which will generate more money. One penguin told me this.
CPI isn’t a fail at all. 1) Mobile games take over PC games 2) CP team focus on a “younger generation of player”.
Perhaps this is true, but then we get Club Penguin Rewritten.
Club Penguin might've ended, but that doesn't mean that penguins will stop waddling. pic.twitter.com/1FKL6EsWKC
— Club Penguin Rewritten (@CPRewritten) March 30, 2017
Another extraordinary story began when Club Penguin was announced to be closed: two fans recreated the entire game, estimated to attract a figure more than 25% players that of the figure Club Penguin Island has, with over half a million accounts registered.
The thing Club Penguin Rewritten does successfully prove is that desktop gaming is far from dead, but is this impacting on the CPI community? I asked stu, the community manager of Rewritten.
Well, honestly, that’s a community answer and I’m sure I can speak for everyone that there’s something about the original pieces of Club Penguin that is just so lovable and amazing.
Not just to play, but to work on. You meet some amazing players and to build a community like Club Penguin Rewritten has done, it’s incredible, and to see it grow from the very beginning is even more incredible.
Players do believe that Club Penguin Rewritten is causing harm to Club Penguin Island. It is true that on their website, there’s not a single link to the game, but when you search the term “Club Penguin”, the unofficial game is the second result. Some even accuse Rewritten of intentionally trying to make it seem like they are official.
With many penguins describing CP Rewritten as “illegal”, I also asked stu if he thought that the unofficial version of Club Penguin posed a threat to the official franchise. I think this is important to share as many people, including myself, do say that CP Rewritten is harmful, yet stu has a very valid point.
It doesn’t give a defined threat to Club Penguin Island, or Disney at all. They make money from their servers, monthly, we gain nothing and all the servers and web addresses are paid with our own money. They will always be on top, how? They are a company, they have the power to do anything they’d like to advertise their game, and you’ve seen their game on Disney Channels and other friendly TV channels.
However, there is another view to this, which also comes from a member of the Club Penguin Rewritten team. It’s also a fair, yet pretty concerning, point which I think many people will agree with.
Shouldn’t it be a wake up call to Disney that some people from the community are doing better than paid professionals?
But what actual harm is Club Penguin Rewritten being accused of causing and if it is causing such harm, why don’t Disney just set their lawyers on the game straight away? I can’t speak for Disney, however I am able to explain why I do not want them to.
- The issue is that there’s sort of a “divide” in the community, with many players turning to either CP Rewritten or either CP Island.
- If CP Rewritten was closed, this would make such a large number of people extremely frustrated, yet what good does it do? If they were not playing CP Island then, I doubt that they would now that Disney closed CP Rewritten. However, say CP Island does one day close. We have to rely on Rewritten, but even now it’s keeping the community fairly alive. The answer is to focus on improving CP Island.
Wouldn’t it just be better if Club Penguin Rewritten players could play Club Penguin Rewritten whilst Club Penguin Island players play Club Penguin Island? Both games are necessary and inevitably each penguin will have their own preference, some may be extreme. But ultimately, CPI is official and for the future, yet CPR might be for others, who prefer old times, which should really be fine.
At some point though, you can’t blame it all on Club Penguin Rewritten.
The team don’t need me to say this, but really? Why have non-members not received a considerable increase in features? They got emojis and ziplines, but that’s not big enough to change the 2.6 star rating. Non-members can’t even spend coins and the XP they gain is useless!
The vast majority of reviews are due to the lack of non-member features, the vast majority of hate is due to the lack of non-member features. You would think, especially if this “real time conversation” was happening, that by this point the team would have taken this on board and introduced something more for non-members and perhaps even made the “free trial” no longer require a credit card.
I’ve written this before, but it’s so necessary to reinforce that I think it’s worth posting again.
Pre-registration rewards (alumni jacket and beta hat) have got to be for non-members else there will always be so much negative criticism. This is a good start but when igloos come out, I would try and focus on making igloos more for members yet clothing more for everyone. Eventually I’d like to see the first one or two packs available for non-members to wear as well.
Members should, in my opinion, have the ability to get some really awesome looking tubes! But non-members should at least get the tube. The main two reasons for this are that it’s annoying to have so many locked things on your interface.
The second is that it’s a tube! All it let you does is float on water, go down waterslides and go Sled Racing. It’s not much and making mini-games a member only experience will not at all be a good idea. But I don’t think it’s unfair to give non-member the basic tube if members are able to get some really awesome ones.
Overdoing member features in the future:
Things like puffles should be able to have some colours adopted by non-members. I know that’s many months down the line but do have a double think about what non-members get each update too. Of course, members must also get a lot, but still ensure that non-members are also excited for updates.
This is undoubtably the main problem which Club Penguin Island has. Yet recently, something else has been bothering me as well. Two things, in fact.
The Cave Maze was an activity. On Club Penguin Island, riding a zipline or blasting out of a cannon is deemed an activity. It’s not all that fun or exciting.
The quote above is from Riyita’s post on “Why Club Penguin Island wasn’t for Me” and he has a very good point. Club Penguin Island’s activities are overhyped, and tapping an orange button counts (or basically is) an activity. Food is one of the six main things advertised, yet all it is is an animation that appears on your screen for about five seconds. That’s it!
Adventures are extremely cool and fun yet, and this is understandable, there aren’t many of them. Maybe this is just me, but after waddling around the island for half a year (I was a geo-beta tester), suddenly it becomes a bit repetitive and boring. For the first 5 months, it was an incredible island to explore, but now it’s like this.
You’re still anticipating updates, but that’s once a month though eventually it comes. Events are so minute they’re basically decorations and some players are starting to complain and fear that we will never have a non-Disney related event. Here’s what the cycle feels like to me and it’s one of the main reasons why I started turning to and blogging about Club Penguin Rewritten:
- The update comes out – you’re so hyped but sometimes a bit frustrated others have it but not you
- You have lots of fun for about a week with others who are really enjoying the update
- Now it’s another three weeks wait before the next update…then the cycle restarts
I strongly dislike having to force myself to log on to a game, but that’s what it feels like now with Club Penguin Island. It’s the reason why I’ve considered quitting and scrapping blogging altogether, though I have optimism that the team in Kelowna will somehow, someway restore this.
Reality check, how long can Club Penguin Island actually last? How many $5 memberships are actually being sold and does it cover the costs of advertising, voice actors, employment of staff and the maintenance of the HQ? We’ve had lay-offs recently and staff leaving the team, staff who had been there for ages. Why?
I’ll take a guess to that question. I don’t want to seem to pessimistic but being realistic, I think we never will get a desktop or console version as the mobile version won’t grow enough. The mobile version will, just a random guess, will close in 2019 or 2020. And that’s depressing because the entire franchise has been put on steak and is now dependant on Island.
The entire future of Club Penguin is just uncertain. I asked Lance Priebe, the creator of Club Penguin, if he thought the team had made a good decision and if it would live up to the web version.
I do not know. I am sad that there is not both a web and mobile version.
I must say this though: we’re three months in. Maybe things will pick up? I hope so, but the team really need to listen to us.
Well, I think this concludes everything I have to say. I’ll try and get a response from the Club Penguin Island team about this post, but I really hope that this feedback is listened to, so hopefully they will read this post!
Thank you very much for reading, waddle on!