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Disney bolsters penguin-avatars from Asia

Anushkar Mohinani | Sept. 8, 2010
Club Penguin virtual world expands to Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines

SINGAPORE, 8 SEPTEMBER 2010 Club Penguin, a virtual world of penguins waddling in a winter wonderland, is now accessible to gamers in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Club Penguin has attracted a sizeable audience throughout Southeast Asia, and in response to a steady growth in popularity, it launched the option to purchase memberships of the virtual world in local currencies Singapore dollar, peso and ringgit.

Robb Beeston, head of Disney Online Studios in the Asia Pacific, said in a media briefing this morning at the Scape Youth Centre in Singapore that he expects Club Penguin's popularity will continue to surge in Asia, especially in Singapore given the nation's Internet ubiquity, growth and influence.

Disney acquired Club Penguin from its three Canadian founders in 2007 for a sum of US$350 million, when the online virtual world became a phenomenon with children around the world and reportedly had 700,000 paying audiences.

Visitors play games and interact with each other in the computer-simulated environment in the guise of animated penguins. One of the key features is the virtual coins players accumulate through game play, which they can use to buy clothing to customise their avatars.

Quintessential Disney

Beeston highlighted Disney's storytelling trait that has timelessly engaged audiences. He added that the Internet supplements this strength by offering a real-time narrative where they can seamlessly update Club Penguin's content on a weekly basis and continue to engage audiences.

With focus on its target consumers, children, Club Penguin is touted as a safe place for children to play online. One of the safety features built is a white filter' where messages go through a sophisticated filter system that blocks inappropriate language.

It also adheres to a strict policy of no third-party advertising. The operations are financed through paid subscriptions of S$6.95 (US$5.17) per month. Our penguins won't be seen moving in branded clothes, joked Beeston.

Although the game is chiefly targeted for the ages of six to 14, with Disney's core concept of entertaining people of all ages, Beeston said that Club Penguin has no age limit and adults have also engaged in the virtual world with their children.

 

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