China’s clampdown on the COVID-19 coronavirus has extended to video games.
The country’s government has removed the popular Plague Inc. game from the Apple app store in that country, declaring that it “includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China.”
Ndemic Creations, makers of the epidemic-themed game (where players try to create and mutate a virus to cause a global pandemic that wipes out the earth’s population), said in a blog post the reason for the announcement was unclear and the company was working to resolve the situation.
“We have a huge amount of respect for our Chinese players and are devastated that they are no longer able to access and play Plague Inc.,” the company said We are working very hard to try and find a way to get the game back in the hands of Chinese players – we don’t want to give up on you – however, as a tiny independent games studio in the UK, the odds are stacked against us. Our immediate priority is to try and make contact with the Cyberspace Administration of China to understand their concerns and work with them to find a resolution.”
Plague Inc. was first released eight years ago, long before the coronavirus outbreak. It has been played by over 130 million people worldwide and was a big hit in China. As COVID-19 has dominated headlines, the game has experienced a new surge in popularity and has been recognized by the CDC and other health organizations for its educational properties in demonstrating how disease spreads.
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