Ndemic Creations, the studio behind the popular mobile game Plague Inc., has pledged $250,000 to help fight against COVID-19. As said on the company’s website, the donation will be split between the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The first one is dedicated to developing and financing vaccines for treating new infectious diseases, while the second is focused on preventing, detecting, and treating COVID-19 worldwide. “Eight years ago, I never imagined the real world would come to resemble a game of Plague Inc., or that so many players would be using Plague Inc. to help them get through an actual pandemic,” the game’s creator James Vaughan said in the announcement. “We are proud to be able to help support the vital work of the WHO and CEPI as they work towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19.” The development team has also been forced to issue a statement reminding people that the game, while based on real-world science and habits, is not accurate for current events and that there are more responsible ways to learn about the effects of COVID-19.
Plague Inc. was removed from the Chinese App Store after regulators claimed that it contained illegal content. Government officials did not clarify if the decision was made because of the outbreak, but sales of the game had spiked in China in January when the virus first started to spread. Around the world, the pandemic simulation game has risen in downloads in recent months.
At the same time, a new mode is coming to Plague Inc. that allows players to help stop a global outbreak. The studio explains the game will feature techniques to help the virus from spreading, such as quarantining and social distancing. From there the player will have to use points to held countries fund a vaccine and save the world. Experts from the WHO and Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network are also assisting with the development, and it will be a free update for all players. There is no confirmed release date for this update just yet.