It's a sad day for for those who enjoy some digitalized Disney magic. It's been decided that Virtual Magic Kingdom, the virtual world developed and released in 2005 to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the real Disneyland's opening, will be closed for good on May 21. According to an FAQ posted on the official website, the reason VMK is closing is because it was originally intended simply as a promotion for the event in 2005, and has continued to run far longer than they originally intended.
Of course, all is not lost for those who subscribe to the cult of Disney. They've already announced a commitment to spend over $100 million in the virtual world space, and they recently consolidated all of their online efforts, including Pirates of the Caribbean Online and Toontown Online, into one division. Their execs already have a firm grasp on the role virtual worlds have to play in building up their brands, so it seems likely that they'll be actively chasing after the casual gaming dollar for the foreseeable future.
[Via Worlds in Motion]