We interrupt your normally-scheduled programming of worldly events about Egypt, ObamaCare, politics and union scallywags for some entertainment news--of sorts.
It's a sad day in Tortuga, mates!
A friend forwarded an e-mail last night that stated that Disney has decided to shut down Pirates of the Caribbean Online on--of all days*--September 19, 2013.
The news marks the end of six years' worth of pirate quests, plundering the high seas, as well as taking loot and gold from the evil empire and its corporate crony--the EITC (that's the East India Trading Company for those of you unfamiliar with pirate lingo).
You might find it odd to know that this disappointed friend wasn't just some kid immersed in the world of video games or some teenaged ne'er-do-well, mind you, he is a father of two who works 60-70 hours per week as a corporate road warrior at a Fortune 500 company.
Then came another email--this time from a grandfather of three.
"This sucks!" the email said.
You see, unlike the more common video games full of blood, guts and gore--not to mention foul language and heavy metal (or rap) music--Pirates of the Caribbean is a multi-generational, family friendly game--family-friendly, that is, if you don't mind sailing the seas online, sinking ships, battling skeletons and other pirates at sea, as well as the British.
For example, during a rainy two days at the beach, there were three generations of pirates playing and plundering all in the same room from different laptops.
Known as a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), Pirates of the Caribbean Online (or POTCO) began in 2007 and gained in popularity as friends would tell friends about the game. Then, for $80 per year (for unlimited access) these friends would often meet online to form 'guilds,' with some guilds' memberships growing into the hundreds.
The language and user interface was kept clean with Disney "censors" monitoring discussions and certain (mostly curse) words automatically flagged. As one of Disney's other safeguards, users could not name states that they lived in either.
Over the years, however, Pirates, like an old sabre, began to lose some of its shiny luster with glitches and, as a result some of its fans.
At the end of July, a "dedicated group of Pirates Online players" began a petition drive to urge Disney to put more resources toward the game. The petition garnered nearly 3300 "signatures" in less than a month. The petitioners' webpage states:
Tired of lag? Bugs? And no new updates? Tell Disney you want them to give POTCO the attention it deserves!
Ironically, Disney responded with the full force of an EITC Warlord's broadside and decided to shut the game down. As to why POTCO is being mothballed, Disney's explanation is this:
The Walt Disney Company is committed to offering high-quality, entertaining play experiences in both online virtual worlds and mobile apps. At this time, we are shifting our development focus towards other online and mobile play experiences, such as Club Penguin and a growing selection of Disney Mobile apps. We deeply appreciate your loyal support and hearty enthusiasm for Pirates Online, and sincerely hope you will continue to enjoy the large variety of online and mobile play experiences Disney offers - with more to come soon!
On the POTCO website this morning, fan comments ranged from sadness to fond farewells.
You cant do this we love this game please. No! Please this game is great you did a wonderful job. Please don't close it.
I am shedding tears right now
Started this game in Sept of 08 and it kept me outa trouble and was an escape when I needed one, I forever thank you for all the friends I have made and the time I have spent with you. I don't regret a single day! 5 years strong !
I started playing this game 4 years ago and I was young and the thought of being able to play along side REAL people thrilled me. I shared my adventure with my little cousin throughout the 4 years. This game is forever attached to me and will always provide great memories from my youth.
It's been a great run, these pass 5 plus years. I have met many a fine pirate and have had some great times with the GM's. As Pretty Polly said, I will never forget when the GM's first got the 'knock out' punch and a group of us stood around and got sent to jail over and over again. Thanks to all the developers for all the hard work you put in for those many years and all the fun we had when you joined us in game. Sorry to see this happening, but the writing has been on the wall for sometime now. We pirates were just hoping it wasn't true. Farewell mates! Fair winds and good plundering. HUZZAH
And, so it is, a family-friendly online adventure gets sunk.
* Update: Ironically, to add grievous insult to grievous injury, Disney's shutting down of Pirates comes on September 19th--the International Talk Like A Pirate Day
[Hat-tip: Moe Lane]
Now, back to your normally scheduled world of Egypt, ObamaCare, politics and union scallywags.
"Truth isn't mean. It's truth."
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)