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BRISTOL, U.K. (Heartland Newsfeed) — An independent game studio in the United Kingdom is raking in the simoleons as sales of a real-time strategy game on how diseases are spread is skyrocketing — even in China — where the Coronavirus is wreaking havoc across parts of eastern Asia.
Game studio Ndemic Creations, the developer of Plague Inc., revealed news that sales of their hit game have gone through the roof, just as the BBC revealed that the Coronavirus has 830 confirmed cases with 26 deaths.
The game, released in 2012, tasks the player with creating and evolving a deadly virus with the endgame of wiping out humanity before the world’s scientific community devises a cure. The game is currently played by more than 120 million people, often declared as one of the most successful mobile games in existence.
However, despite the massive influx of game sales, creator James Vaughan believes that they should not rely on the game as a learning tool and has advised people to seek out their local and global health authorities like the World Health Organization for more information, according to an interview with Eurogamer.
“The Coronavirus outbreak in China is deeply concerning and we’ve received a lot of questions from players and the media,” Vaughan said. “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.”
Vaughan continues, “We specifically designed the game to be realistic and informative, while not sensationalizing serious real-world issues. This has been recognized by the CDC and other leading medical organizations around the world.”
Vaughan reminds the gaming community that Plague Inc. is a game and not a scientific model. He also couldn’t stress enough that the Coronavirus is a very real situation that is impacting a large number of people.
The BBC reported Wednesday that Plague Inc. became the best-selling app in China, with a user on the Chinese social media platform Weibo stating, “The best way to eliminate fear is to look fear straight in the face.”
In the past few days, the Coronavirus has spread from Wuhan to larger Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai. Cases have spread to the United States, Thailand, South Korea and Japan. Bloomberg Technology reporter Zheping Huang commented on the news on Twitter:
The real-world virus outbreak also brought out the black humor in gamers. 2012’s Plague Inc. — where players evolve a pathogen to wipe out humanity — is now China’s top paid iOS game. https://t.co/JdYrVJzwZX pic.twitter.com/inJ5jGvEJ2
— Zheping Huang (@pingroma) January 22, 2020
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.