This British educational 'plague game' has been banned in China - here's why

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 3:05 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 3:17 pm

What do you do when you're quarantined? A report from the New Yorker over the weekend told us how people stuck at home in Wuhan, as the coronavirus strain Covid-19 spreads across the world, are turning to the kitchen for escape.

Although quarantine is a scary reality for thousands of people, life still goes on while the virus passes from China and into mainland Europe. But anyone hoping to pass the time by playing an online game from British developers Ndemic Creations will find one particular game has been banned in China.

Plague Inc

Plague Inc is an app-based game that requires players to control the spread of a virus over the world. It has now been banned, as Chinese authorities claim the game supports "illegal content".

In a statement, Ndemic Creations said, "We have some very sad news to share with our China-based players. We've just been informed that Plague Inc 'includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China' and has been removed from the China App Store. This situation is completely out of our control."

The British app developer stated that it is unsure whether the ban is related to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, adding that "Plague Inc's educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control Covid-19."

Some players had commented that the app helped them ease concerns surrounding the spread of the new coronavirus strain.

Plague Inc has a fact check mission to educate players about the dangers of fake news (Image: Ndemic Creaions)

Informative game

Plague Inc was first launched eight years ago. Players control the spread of a disease across the world by countering attempts that humans make to stop it. The game demonstrates to people how diseases spread and can actively prepare people for outbreaks by educating them.

The developers have updated a "fact check" scenario within the game that deliberatly demonstrates the damage that the spread of misinformation has during a viral outbreak.

Creators of the game said, "The coronavirus outbreak in China is deeply concerning and we’ve received a lot of questions from players and the media. Plague Inc has been out for eight years now, and whenever there is an outbreak of disease we see an increase in players, as people seek to find out more about how diseases spread and to understand the complexities of viral outbreaks."

The game currently has 130 million players online, with a steep increase in Chinese users in January 2020.