KEY POINTS

  • The popular pandemic simulator "Plague Inc." has been removed from China's app stores
  • The developers said the reasons for the takedown remain unclear to them at the moment
  • The developers said they are looking for ways to bring the game back to Chinese players' hands

The popular pandemic simulator game “Plague Inc.” has been removed from Chinese app stores, but the reasons for its takedown remain unclear at the moment.

“Plague Inc.,” the real-time strategy simulation game that involves the use of pandemics to eliminate life on the planet, has been removed from Chinese app stores, Polygon reported. The reasons for the removal remain unclear at the moment, but the timing is suspect considering the current coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan City in China.

Ndemic Creations, the creators of the game, said via a statement that the removal of the game from the app stores is “completely out of our control,” and that it is saddened by the takedown.

"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," the devs said.

"We have a huge amount of respect for our Chinese players and are devastated that they are no longer able to access and play Plague Inc," it added.

The developers noted that the game has been up and running for eight years now, and is currently enjoying a massive number of players amounting to 130 million. It recently rose to top spot in the Chinese app stores, becoming the top-selling app in China amid the recent COVID-19 outbreak that continues to spread to more territories worldwide.

Ndemic Creations said it is unclear to them if the removal is linked to the outbreak in China. It added that it is trying to find ways to bring the game back into the hands of Chinese players, saying “we don't want to give up on you.”

“Plague Inc.” has been recognized by various organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for its educational importance, brought about by the game's realistic and informative design.

Despite the game's educational value, Ndemic Creations's James Vaughan said previously that people should look to global health organizations for information regarding the virus.

Global stock markets have plummeted this week as the coronavirus has spread around the world Global stock markets have plummeted this week as the coronavirus has spread around the world Photo: AFP / Kazuhiro NOGI