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As Coronavirus Looms, China Bans Videogame “Plague Inc.”

By Jason Freely / a few months ago
As Coronavirus Looms, China Bans Videogame “Plague Inc.”

Game Plan

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, China has banned the popular game “Plague Inc.,” which simulates a fictional pandemic, and removed it from the local version of the Apple App Store.

“We have some very sad news to share with our China based players,” reads a statement by game studio Ndemic Creations. “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.”

Too Real

Ndemic released “Plague Inc.” back in 2012, and it’s been an indie standard ever since. The year after it came out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even invited in James Vaughan, the game’s creator, for a series of lectures about video games and public health.

But the game has found new relevance in the shadow of the global coronavirus outbreak this year. Last month, the game issued a formal warning that players shouldn’t rely on the game for health information about COVID-19.

Plague Rage

The studio says it’s going to try to get the ban reversed, though the mood at Ndemic sounds gloomy.

“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,” they wrote.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Plague Inc. game banned in China [BBC]

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