Plague Inc., a video game where players are challenged to spread a deadly virus globally, has been banned in China for including “illegal content”.
Video game developer Ndemic Creations said Plague Inc. was removed from the app store in China. The ban comes amidst efforts to address the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The developer released a statement saying: “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.”
“It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing. However, 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,” Ndemic Creations added.
The company said that it was “devastated” for its Chinese players and claimed that the game “encourages players to think and learn more about serious public health issues”.
In January, Ndemic Creations called on players to avoid the game for info on the cornavirus and instead get details from official sources.
In a statement, the video game company said: “The current coronavirus outbreak is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people. We would always recommend that players get their information directly from local and global health authorities.”
The company argued that while the game was designed to be “realistic and informative, while not sensationalizing serious real-world issues,” it is not a “scientific model” and should not be relied upon for information about the coronavirus outbreak.