Controversial video game ‘Plague’ that lets players create a killer virus in China and spread it around the world is REMOVED from the Chinese App Store amid coronavirus crisis
- The game Plague costs 79p and is played by more than 130million people
- Made by UK firm Ndemic Creations in Bristol it has been live for 8 years in China
- It has been removed from Chinese App Store over ‘content that is illegal in China’
- It is uncertain if it is related to the outbreak of COVID-19 which originated in Wuhan, China
A hugely popular computer game that tasks players with creating and spreading a killer virus around the globe has been pulled from the Chinese App Store.
The game, called Plague, costs 79p and is played by more than 130million people globally and is the top strategy/simulation game worldwide.
The aim is to create a deadly disease in a Chinese laboratory and infect as many countries and people as possible.
It is unclear why the Cyberspace Administration of China removed the game and if it is related to the outbreak of COVID-19 — which originated in Wuhan, China.
The coronavirus outbreak is believed to have infected humans from animals in a market in the Hubei province and has now killed almost 2,900 people worldwide.
The game, called Plague, costs 79p and is played by more than 130million people around the world and is the top strategy/simulation game worldwide. The aim is to create a deadly disease in a Chinese laboratory and infect as many countries and people as possible
A recent update allows the player to deliberately spread disinformation about the virus (pictured). This may be the reason China pulled the app as it tries to ensure civilians receive accurate information about the outbreak
The UK-based company that created Plague claims it ‘has been the most popular paid game in China for many years’.
But the simulation game, which is available on mobile, consoles and PC, officially became the most downloaded game in China’s version of the Apple Store last month.
Game developers Ndemic Creations released a statement after their abrupt exile from the Chinese market,
‘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,’ it said.
‘This situation is completely out of our control.’
It appears China has given no explanation for why the game was removed after eight years in the country.
The Bristol-based developers explain: ‘It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing.
‘However, Plague Inc.’s educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19.’
The coronavirus outbreak is believed to have infected humans from animals in a market in the Hubei province of China and has now killed almost 2,900 people worldwide
More than 500 cases of the killer coronavirus have now been recorded across Europe, with 453 of them in Italy
It is possible the game has been cancelled in China, where the coronavirus has killed more than 2,700 people, to avoid mass hysteria and panic.
Analyst Daniel Ahmad suggests the cancellation of the game in China could have a legitimate reason behind it.
In a tweet, he says it could have been removed as a result of never actually being licensed to launch in China as it went live before that law was created.
He also says potential pitfalls could be the fact the virus always starts in China no matter what and the game may unwittingly mislead people looking for advice.
Mr Ahmed says: ‘[The misinformation problem] could be the most likely reason as the game recently released a “fake news” update in the iOS version that allows people to create misinformation.
‘But again, that’s just speculation and the CAC hasn’t released an official reason just yet.’
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE CORONAVIRUS?
The signs of COVID-19, the infection caused by the coronavirus, are often mild and are very similar to a cold, flu or chest infection.
Typical symptoms of infection include a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
These are common complaints at this time of year, so where someone has travelled or who they have come into contact with are important in determining whether they might have coronavirus.
The NHS considers people to be at risk if they have the symptoms above and have recently travelled to mainland China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, or the north of Italy (north of Pisa and Florence).
People who have, in the past two weeks, been to the Hubei province of China, Iran, the South Korean cities of Daegu or Cheongdo in South Korea, or one of 11 quarantined towns in northern Italy are considered to be at risk even if they feel well.
The 11 towns in Italy are Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, San Fiorano and Vo’ Euganeo.
Those who have come into contact with others who have visited those places and then feel ill may also be at risk.
People who fit any of the categories above should stay at home and self-isolate, away from other people, and phone NHS 111 for more advice. If you think you have the coronavirus do not go to a doctor’s surgery or hospital.
The virus can spread through coughing, sneezing, or by being close to someone for prolonged periods of time.
To protect themselves, people should cough and sneeze into a tissue and throw it away, wash their hands and avoid contact with sick people.
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