One of the most popular — and most kid-friendly — massively multiplayer online games is going offline this spring. Club Penguin, Disney’s long-running, browser-based MMO, will shut down on March 29 as the company transitions to a mobile-only experience based on the property, according to a post on the game’s website.
Club Penguin Island will replace the current desktop and app-based versions of Club Penguin. The team behind the franchise referred to it as “an entirely new Club Penguin experience for mobile” on its website, although how it differs from the original game is still unknown.
Premium members will be able to keep logging into the browser-based Club Penguin until March 29, according to the site’s shutdown notice. They’ll no longer be charged for the service, however, and no new memberships can be purchased starting today.
First launched in October 2005, Club Penguin is a community of penguin avatars who roam an antarctic world. The social platform, which is akin to other flash-based kids games like Habbo Hotel and Neopets, encourages players to hang out at various parties and play minigames together as well. One last party kicks off Feb. 1, the team teased in its announcement.
More notable than its child-appropriate ragers, though, is Club Penguin’s chat function. Players have used it to sometimes stunning effect over the years, like one recent, viral happening. In November, users staged an in-game protest against then-President Elect Donald Trump.
HOLY SHIT THERES A TRUMP PROTEST ON CLUB PENGUIN RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/tY33Hq2mvi— Lourdes (@gossipgriII) November 13, 2016
It’s unclear whether this was the work of some preternaturally political preteens or older users, but the news that Club Penguin is closing down has many older fans in mourning. For the players who have since aged out of the game, which is aimed at kids between six and 12, Club Penguin’s imminent end marks the heartbreaking end of an era.
CLUB PENGUIN IS SHUTTING DOWN FOREVER NOT TO BE DRAMATIC BUT THIS IS LITERALLY THE WORST NEWS I'VE EVER GOTTEN EVER— ginapple (@ginapple_) January 31, 2017
club penguin is ending i no longer wish to be alive— insane (@deIuge) January 31, 2017
*club penguin exists and i don't play it for years*— sofia (@notsupersofia) January 31, 2017
*club penguin announces a shut down*
Club Penguin is closing down the original website so they can release an app instead I've never been so offended in my life— Gabby Frost (@gabby_frost) January 31, 2017
club penguin doesn't deserve to die it should've been me— ℭoconut sugar (@brandnxxw) January 31, 2017
As simple as the game may have seemed to older MMO fans who cut their teeth on World of Warcraft or Runescape, Club Penguin holds an important place in the heart of many twentysomethings. Although its traffic has decreased over the years, at its height, 8.5 million players logged in, and the game boasted more than 200 million user accounts.