Update: Billybob has made a post about this on the Club Penguin Blog. Read about it here.
All Things D has published an article stating that Lane Merrifield, the co-founder of Club Penguin, has decided to leave the game that was purchased by Disney in August 2007.
This morning Merrifield sent a letter to all of the employees of Club Penguin, writing “Our team has grown Club Penguin from a simple idea to being the largest global virtual world for kids for seven straight years while maintaining a significant profit margin. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of Club Penguin, and I know that it will continue to grow and thrive.”
A spokesperson did confirm this, meaning it is the real deal. Lane Merrifield/Billybob’s departure is effective immediately, however he expects to help out until February 1, 2013. Here is the full email that was sent out:
To my friends at Disney:
Five years ago our little company joined Disney and I had no idea then what an amazing adventure it would turn out to be. Since that time, I have had the privilege of working alongside and learning from so many of you and the joy of creating great products together. I appreciate the opportunity and the faith this company placed in me and the ways it has allowed me to grow both as a leader and as a person. I am also grateful for the countless memories this company has created for me and my family. Our team has grown Club Penguin from a simple idea to being the largest global virtual world for kids for seven straight years while maintaining a significant profit margin. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of Club Penguin, and I know that it will continue to grow and thrive.
Like many entrepreneurs though, there comes a time when the desire to create something new outweighs the comfort of what’s known and for me that time has come.
Over the past year, I’ve invested in a new educational startup called Freshgrade that focuses on creating mobile cloud-based assessment software for teachers and students and it has reached a place where more of my time is needed. We started Club Penguin in order to enhance our children’s online experience and now I hope to do the same with their educational experience.
Thank you for the role you’ve played in my journey and I truly hope that even though my business card may change, my friendship with so many of you will not.
Now, here are some little known facts about Lane:
- A few months after making his penguin, he wanted to change his name because he didn’t like Billybob anymore.
- To help assist Screenhog in making girl penguin clothes, he went to the store and bought some teen girl magazines.
- It was his idea to put Astro Barrier in the Dance Lounge.
- He was the first support representative for the game.
- There was going to be a game called Cave Runner, but instead he made Cart Surfer. It took 9 days from creation to launch.
- He wanted the June 2006 party (Summer Party) to be really good.
- At the meeting to announce Disney bought Club Penguin, he started it off with a lengthy introduction for suspense.
- He was unhappy with the original Card-Jitsu music that was made so he had it switched before launch.
- He didn’t do the best in college.
- He was a C-average student.
- Puffles were originally meant to not have mouths, but he and Rsnail convinced Screenhog to add it.