Remember yesterday, when I suggested that the person who thought that WoW should be shut down anytime soon was smoking a big ol’ bag of crack? It turns out that it could also result in front-page CNN news (well, it was front page before Miley Cyrus taught the world what ‘twerk’ means).
After 10 years and a significant drop in user numbers, Disney has decided to instead focus its resources on the more popular “Club Penguin” virtual world, which has about 200 million registered users. “Toontown” will be shuttered September 19….and many long-time player…are dealing with the loss of an online home.
MMOs, it turns out, are incredibly hard to shut down, largely because of the emotional resonance that the game has with players. Even former players who no longer play can get upset at the disappearance of what was once a central part of their lives, and this can result in distrust for the publisher of said game on future endeavors.
“I think ‘Toontown’ is unique in that its long-time users literally grew up with the game,” said Yee. “It’s a little like me telling someone that they’re tearing down ‘Sesame Street.’ Or that they’re tearing down the neighborhood playground where you used to play.”
It’s hard to tell if this makes things easier or not. The other point of view is that you are less likely to miss things you’ve outgrown. Also, kids are much more likely to easily jump to a new shiny thing, and less likely to start outraged petitions that call attention to it.