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Disney Interactive to Shutter Three Virtual Worlds


In less than a month Disney Interactive will pull the plug on three of its MMORPG online virtual worlds. Pixie Hollow, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Toontown Online will all close for good on September 19, 2013. If you have an account you can log on and play for free between now and then for one last hurrah.

Although there’s been no official statement from Disney about guest participation, the general feeling is that traffic has been decreasing significantly from the highs they once enjoyed. It’s also important to note that Disney has also changed its video game strategy. They’re now attempting to switch to a licensing model instead of developing the game in-house.

Disney will also be focusing on Club Penguin online virtual world, which is not only a game, it’s the biggest social network for kids with over 150 million accounts. Of course, it’s not based on any Disney property and not really targeted at tweens and teens. There’s definitely an unserved market there.

The lesson Disney wants its fans to learn is apparently don’t get invested in any online game we make, we’re just going to close it and break your heart eventually. Like all love affairs, the question becomes is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Ask the fans of Virtual Magic Kingdom (VMK) who all these years later are still pining for the return of their fabulous world. Now ToonTown, Pixie Hollow and Pirates will have their own legions of fans who feel like they’ve lost a part of their (virtual) selves.

There has to be a better way. Any ideas?

9 thoughts on “Disney Interactive to Shutter Three Virtual Worlds”

  1. The last few years updates to these games have been minimal. Each of these virtual worlds deserved more time and money invested into them. It’s a shame, really. Toontown, especially, because it was the best MMO out there for young kids. It was never heavily advertised but had potential to be a dominating kids MMO.

  2. I think they want to consolidate all their games into the all new Disney Infinity.
    I don’t know what you could do with the MMOs they are closing but in the long term I think Infinity could replace them no ?

    1. I don’t think disney Infiniti could EVER replace an online virtual world. 1) Doesn’t even include toontown characters 2) Doesn’t have changing events 3) no online interaction 4) more of a cartoony look unlike POTCO 5) not as fun as MMO’s

  3. I loved playing PoTC online. Unfortunately, I don’t have a computer anymore, just a tablet so I can see maybe that’s happening more and more with other people as well.

    1. I know many people now own tablets, but apps get boring for you can’t move, customize or anything unlike in an online world

  4. I worked on both Toontown and Pirates of the Caribbean for many years. You have to understand one basic fact about Disney. The company is all about internal politics and profit. The loyal Disney fan is very low on the totem pole of priorities. For years Toontown was much more profitable than you might think if you looked at the balance sheet. The problem was that from day one, management was never behind the project. The more money TT made the more more money was syphoned off to pay losses that were being generated by other segments of DIMG. So the more profitable the game was the more internal expenses were billed to it. Both games have stagnated because several years ago the decision was made to let these projects wither away and die on the vine. Only a bare minimum of staff was allotted to work on these games.
    The prototype for Toontown 2 was awesome. If Disney had any interest in pleasing their subscribers
    they would have considered that before they shut it down.

  5. I play dozens of games on my computer and on my iPad. For most of these games, I invest time and money. Period. I lose interest in most of these games over time and if they were to suddenly go away, I could quickly find other games in which to invest my time and money to entertain myself over the short haul. Pixie Hollow is an altogether different experience. I am almost hesitant to call it a game at all. Yes, I have invested time and money in Pixie Hollow, but I have also invested my heart, my imagination, and very large parts of my soul. It is a heart-wrenching experience to lose Pixie Hollow, made worse by Disney’s cavalier attitude and lack of responsiveness to those of us who have written and called them. Is it better to have loved and lost? In this case, absolutely. Would I ever trust Disney with my heart again? Never.

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