Tonight marks the end for Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom online multi-player interactive environment. But don’t try to log on for the first time, new sign ups have been discontinued for some time now. Today regular users will log on one more time, exchange personal information (because hey, what’s Disney going to do, kick you off?) so they can stay in contact with each other after the plug is pulled.
The matter has finally started to attract the attention of online community experts and some national media; alas it’s too late to make any difference. I agree with the expert interviewed by the OC Register, Disney is failing in its responsibility to the users of this game by not providing some transitional community. But perhaps the biggest failing is that future users will be wary of Disney pulling this stunt again. Once burned shame on you, twice burned shame on me.
Although I don’t work for the mouse, I still want to apologize to all the community members of VMK. Disney should know better than to treat you like this. It’s not how they would want their sons and daughters to be treated and it’s totally out of line with the new ethics of cyberspace. Let’s hope they learn a lesson or two.
Update: Radical Trust has an interesting idea, a bill of rights for online communities.