Video games can teach lessons, but when it comes to science and a very real viral outbreak, just remember that they can only go so far.

The spread of the coronavirus in China has caused international concern, and under a rather unique circumstance, has led many to take interest in Ndemic Creations’ Plague Inc.

Released in 2012 for the PC and mobile, Plague Inc. is a strategy game that tasks players with creating and spreading a deadly virus to cause a global plague. The game has seen a sudden increase in players because of the coronavirus outbreak, so much so that Ndemic’s website was offline for a bit last week because of the dramatic shift in player count.

It also caused the development team to release a statement, telling its player not to use the game as an explanation for current events.

Wrote Ndemic,

“Plague, Inc. has been out for eight years now and whenever there is an outbreak of disease we see an increase in players, as people seek to find out more about how diseases spread and to understand the complexities of viral outbreaks.

We specifically designed the game to be realistic and informative, while not sensationalising serious real-world issues. This has been recognised by the CDC and other leading medical organisations around the world.

However, please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model and that the current coronavirus outbreak is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people. We would always recommend that players get their information directly from local and global health authorities.”

The statement closed with the developer offering a link to the World Health Organization’s website to learn more about the virus.

So far, the coronavirus has spread to every region in mainland China. There are 7,711 confirmed cases and 170 deaths, according to the BBC. Cases of the virus have also reached other countries, with their governments and the WHO taking various actions to try and contain it.


About The Author

Nick T
Jr. Staff Writer

Nick is a junior staff writer at GAW who loves hockey and a good RPG. The first game he played was Ice Hockey on a hand-me-down NES, and having grown up with the PS1, he knows the first three Crash Bandicoot games like the back of his hand and can recite every track from PaRappa the Rapper on the spot if you ask him to. Along with writing for GAW, Nick also works on the sports desk at the Philadelphia Inquirer. If he isn't on skates in his free time, he's probably trying to cycle through several 60-plus hour games at once.