KEY POINTS

  • The game "Plague Inc." is currently the top-selling app in the iOS App Store
  • This is because of the current Coronavirus outbreak in China
  • The game's devs have spoken out, saying people should look to local and international authorities for information and comfort, instead of looking to the game

The developer of “Plague Inc.,” a real-time strategy simulation game that involves the use of pathogens to eliminate all life on earth, has spoken up in response to how people look to the game as a source of information and comfort during the outbreak of Coronavirus in China.

Eight years after it was released for mobiles, the simulation game “Plague Inc.” became the top-selling app in China amid the recent and ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus in the Asian country, which started in Wuhan City in Hubei province, BBC reported. Some players indicate that they downloaded the game as a way to cope with worries about the virus.

Eurogamer reported that players downloaded the game in order to look for answers to their questions about how Coronavirus spreads and works. The game's creator, however, discourages people from doing this because the game is but “a game.”

“ Please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model and that the Coronavirus is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people,” Ndemic Creations' James Vaughan, developer of “Plague Inc.,” said in response to the uptick in the game's downloads.

Vaughan revealed that the game, which has been out for eight years now, continues to see an increase in the number of players “whenever there is an outbreak of disease.” He indicated that people tend to look to the game to learn about how viruses and pathogens spread, and also to learn about the “complexities of viral outbreaks.”

The game developer said that while they intentionally designed the game to be as realistic and as informative as can be, it doesn't sensationalize real issues like the one happening right now. Because of this, various medical organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have recognized the app.

Despite the recognition, Vaughan stresses that instead of looking to “Plague Inc.” as a source of information regarding viruses, people should look to local and global health authorities such as the World Health Organization for important information.

The WHO has some expert advice for people who are worried about the disease spreading in their vicinities. Readers are advised to read it.

The coronavirus infection has killed at least 25 people while the number of confirmed cases has leapt to 830 The coronavirus infection has killed at least 25 people while the number of confirmed cases has leapt to 830 Photo: AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI