Developer Ndemic Creations has announced that Plague Inc. has been removed from sale on the China App Store. The Cyberspace Administration of China determined that the strategy game “includes content that is illegal in China.”
Back in January, sales of the eight-year-old game skyrocketed in China, as players began using it to gain a better understanding of how diseases spread in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak–more commonly known as coronavirus. Plague Inc. is a real-time strategy game that tasks you with creating and evolving a deadly pathogen than can wipe out humanity before the world’s top scientists are able to devise a cure. Its authenticity and educational importance has frequently been recognised by health organisations like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
“Plague Inc. is a huge critical and commercial success,” Ndemic said in a statement. “Eight years old and with over 130 million players, it’s the #1 strategy/simulation game worldwide and has been the most popular paid game in China for many years. Plague Inc. stands out as an intelligent and sophisticated simulation that encourages players to think and learn more about serious public health issues. 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’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing,” the statement continues.
“We are working very hard to try and find a way to get the game back in the hands of Chinese players–we don’t want to give up on you–however, as a tiny independent games studio in the UK, the odds are stacked against us. Our immediate priority is to try and make contact with the Cyberspace Administration of China to understand their concerns and work with them to find a resolution.
“Nothing is changing outside of mainland China: we will continue to support and update both Plague Inc. and our newest game Rebel Inc. on all platforms whilst also working hard to try and find a way to bring Plague Inc. back to players in China.”
Ndemic also reiterated its plans to continue working with world health organisations to determine how it can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19. The studio promises to share more information on this front soon.
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