Kid’s virtual world Club Penguin has fallen short of the high-flying projections made when Disney purchased them 3 years ago.
Read this New York Times piece from today for the details.
I can’t say I’m surprised by the result. CP always seemed thin on the engagement side – dress your penguin and run around and “speak” pre-approved phrases. More dot.com than user driven media. The tip off should have been when old model Disney snapped them up – the model made sense to them.
The article went on to catalog the woes of most of the kiddy virtual worlds that were getting so much buzz just a couple of years ago. Smells like 2001 all over again.
Meanwhile our old friends Whyville, Farmville and their kin continue to slowly build a solid base of engaged users by letting the kids largely run the show and by providing open and free places for people to learn.
Learning is the killer app – not being busy.
We shouldn’t write them off – there are smart people running the show over there and they have time to adapt and learn. The question now is whether Disney will have the patience to see them forward.