In the midst of the coronavirus - also known as the Wuhan Virus- outbreak, there has been an increasing number of downloads of the mobile game app "Plague Inc.".
According to a statement released by Ndemic Creations, the creator of Plague Inc, the team has been receiving questions from players and the media regarding the coronavirus outbreak. It emphasises that the game was designed "to be realistic and informative, while not sensationalising serious real-world issues". Nedemic Creations also reminded players that "Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model", and urges players to get information from health authorities instead.
Ndemic Creations has also released the statement on its Facebook page, which has gained 973 reactions, 127 comments, and 244 shares at the time of writing. Comments by netizens showed how they thought the coronavirus outbreak is similar to the game, with a few commending the team stepping up to address the issue. A quick check by the Marketing team shows that the mobile game app is currently number one of the top charts list for paid apps in Apple's App Store. It also holds the number three spot of the top charts for free apps in Google's Play Store.
Released in 2012, Plague Inc. gets players to spread a deadly pathogen that has infected "Patient Zero", with the aim of infecting the rest of the world. Players determine certain conditions (such as plague type, symptoms, and the start location) for the spread of the pathogen. They then see how far they manage to spread the pathogen before "Patient Zero" gets identified and a cure is found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The app is marketed with the game tagline "can you infect the world?".
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