Frustration and disappointment was squarely behind the creation of the kid-friendly online space Club Penguin
. Co-founder and general manager Lane Merrifield was sick and tired of the MMO industry's "cynicism"
when it came to children. Merrifield and his partners went forward with the gamespace as a side project, a world unsupported by VC money or expectations.
GamesIndustry.biz sat down for a chat with the man, and delved into the context behind one of the most successful kid-oriented titles on the market. In his words, he'd be "silly" not to be surprised by the game's runaway success and the purchase by Disney
. The human element, he offers, has been critical to their success. "Merrifield also thinks that there is an over-reliance on technology that ignores the human element, which is why they've decided to devote two-thirds of the company's staff to positions such as safety moderators and customer service. 'We know the limits of technology, even though I would put our filtering software up against anybody's, especially because of that human element - we're adding 500 to 1000 words every day to the filters, simply because of slang that works its way into the language.'"