News & Media
KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA and NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - The Walt Disney Internet Group announced today it is about to open an office in the United Kingdom in preparation for launching a British version of Club Penguin (www.clubpenguin.com) by mid-2008.
Club Penguin, one of the fastest-growing online virtual worlds for kids, is recruiting employees for its Brighton office and is in the process of designing a British version of the website that will feature uniquely British cultural references and touches. Club Penguin plans to bring the newly-hired employees to its headquarters in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada in January for immersive and comprehensive training before launching the new version of the site.
Club Penguin is a virtual land of ice and snow where users play games and hang out with friends in the guise of colourful, penguin avatars. Although the site already has an extensive fan base in the United Kingdom, Club Penguin's content isn't as relevant to children there because it comes out of a North American cultural context.
"When you look at holidays and events, for example, there are things like Guy Fawkes Night which could be a lot of fun in Club Penguin but we're not able to focus on now because it's not celebrated in Canada or the United States where the majority of our current users live," explains Club Penguin's Lane Merrifield. "In the British version of Club Penguin we'll be able to customize the world to create localized in-game events as well as providing local community support which will allow us to better protect the interests and safety of our players."
Club Penguin was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in August 2007 as part of its strategy for long-term growth through applying new technologies to the creation and global distribution of high-quality family entertainment. The launch of a British version of the site will mark Club Penguin's first foray into tailoring its virtual world multi-player experience to a particular cultural audience.
"Club Penguin has already attracted a significant audience in the UK with its North American service, but we believe there is a real demand in this market for a safe online community destination for children that has local relevance. With Club Penguin's success in North America and Disney's experience and knowledge of the UK market, we believe we are in a unique position to make this a success." Commented Cindy Rose, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Walt Disney Internet Group, EMEA.
Club Penguin is designed for 6 to 14-year-olds but is open to all ages. The site is free to use and enjoy but subscribing members receive added benefits and features.
The Walt Disney Company and Club Penguin are committed to creating a safe online entertainment experience for kids and families. Club Penguin optimizes the safety of its online environment through the use of powerful filtering and live moderators to monitor chat and activity on the site and prevent the sharing of inappropriate or personally identifiable information. The site also maintains a strict no-advertising policy.
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