Back in May, I first brought this up.
Well, now we can answer the question, "How much gold?" It turns out, somewhere between $250 and $500 for every single current paying user. As in, about 3-6 years worth of revenue from each of them.
That is to say, between $350,000,000 and $700,000,000.
Various news outlets announced today that Disney has bought Club Penguin for $350M in cash, with the rest of the deal being worth up to another $350M over the next two years. For those doing the math exercises at home, the company has three founders who reportedly own all the equity. They will become part of Disney. Disney has said it has no plans to change Club Penguin at all, other than to add the Disney name to it.
But other than really good times in British Columbia, what does this mean?
I asked a similar question back in May when the rumors of Club Penguin being acquired for $200M-$450M first surfaced. I think we all agree now that browser-based MMOs are not a fluke, not a negligible also-ran trying in vain to compete with their big 3D brothers (yes, there's WoW, but there's also LOTRO, DDO, and on down the line to Matrix Online and Auto Assault).
Does this potentially signal the start of serious M&A activity in MMO-land, or possibly people finally getting the idea that 2D is not necessarily less than 3D except in visual dimensions?
If you were betting on a new MMO, would you bet on a scrappy, quickly deployed no-download, no-choking-on-retail, low-cost world, or one that sucks up $50M and five years on a roulette-like bet? Maybe those are the extremes, but I have to think that the bar for what might be considered to be viable worlds has just been lowered, and in a very good way.