Plague Inc. devs donate big bucks to fight coronavirus

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Plague Inc., a game about a pandemic, might a little too real for government regulators.
Plague Inc. will fight the real thing.
Screenshot: Ndemic Creations/YouTube

The developers of the game Plague Inc. will donate $250,000 to fight the real-life plague, COVID-19, currently gripping the globe.

Ndemic Creations said it will split the money between the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Plague Inc. is one of the top-grossing games in the App Store, its popularity soaring as the novel coronavirus outbreak has many parts of the world on strict orders to self-quarantine. Players are faced with the scenario of a deadly virus starting in China (sound familiar?) and have to try to contain its spread.

For reasons still mysterious to the developers, the game was booted from the Apple App Store in China.

“Eight years, I never imagined the real world would come to remember a game of Plague Inc. or that some many players would be using (it) to help them get through an actual pandemic,” James Vaughn, the game’s creator, said on the Ndemic Creations website.

In addition to the donation, the developers will soon make it possible for players to donate directly through the game.

The company is also working with the WHO on a new mode in the game that lets players save the world from a deadly outbreak. Th players will be tasked to balance managing the disease’s progression with health responses, like triaging, quarantining, social distancing and the closing of public services.

Games have an important role in raising awareness of the challenges the world is currently facing,” CEPI CEO Dr. Richard Hatchett said. “Only through a concerted, global response – with the private sector working together with governments and philanthropies, pooling resources and expertise – can we hope to stop such emerging threats.”