Fears over the coronavirus have led many to turn to Plague Inc. However, the Chinese authorities have since removed it from the China App Store.
Last month, Ndemic Creations’ Plague Inc. surged in popularity as people turned to the strategy simulation game for any sort of insight they could gain about the coronavirus. As a game in which you are tasked with destroying the world with a deadly plague, it seemed like a natural go to for information about the spread of a virus, especially for those in China who were the first to be struck by the outbreak. Plague Inc. topped the Chinese app charts, prompting Ndemic to release an official statement warning players that Plague Inc. is not a “scientific model” (although it is “realistic and informative”).
In any case, the powers that be in China have deemed that Plague Inc. “includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China.” As a result, the game has been removed from the China App Store, Ndemic confirmed, adding: “This situation is completely out of our control.”
Ndemic issued the following statement on the game’s removal from the China App Store:
"Plague Inc. is a huge critical and commercial success. Eight years old and with over 130 million players, it’s the #1 strategy/simulation game worldwide and has been the most popular paid game in China for many years. Plague Inc. stands out as an intelligent and sophisticated simulation that encourages players to think and learn more about serious public health issues. 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."
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The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China which could have something to do with China’s decision to remove Plague Inc. It certainly seems like a move the Chinese authorities would do. However, the studio noted that they aren’t clear if the removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Maybe it was done in order to prevent further panic. Maybe the Chinese government is just embarrassed by the whole situation.
Ndemic is working to get the game back on the China App Store but it doesn’t sound like it’ll happen any time soon. They are currently trying to contact the Cyberspace Administration of China to see if they can find a resolution.
The good news is the rest of us aren’t subject to China’s authoritarian rule. Plague Inc. will remain available worldwide, as it should be.
48 countries have now reported coronavirus infections. Health officials have warned Americans to plan for the possibility of it spreading in the United States.