Mobile Game Plague Inc Pulled from Chinese App Store

The developer isn't sure why, but it could be coronavirus concerns

Why This Matters

Pandemic simulation game Plague Inc has been around since 2013 on iOS, and has since expanded to PC, console, and board game iterations. For China to pull the app store shows a genuine fear of the game content, perhaps in response to the current Coronavirus issues in the country.

Plague Inc screen showing global map

UK-based game developer Ndemic Creations revealed that its long-running pandemic simulation game, Plague Inc, has been pulled from the App Store in China.

What happened: The Cyberspace Administration of China told Ndemic that the mobile game "includes content that is illegal in China," and that it had been removed from the App Store in that country. The release does not mention whether the game has been dropped from Google Play or Windows Phone app stores.

Behind the scenes: The Chinese government has had a long history of censoring its video game industry, with a ban on all consoles in 2000 ostensibly to combat violence in games. That held until 2014, when the ban was lifted, though approvals for new games were slow, and began to seriously dry up in 2018.

By The Numbers - Plague Inc

  • 8 years on the market
  • 130 million players
  • #1 strategy/simulation game worldwide

What they said: "It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing," wrote the developers in their statement. Ndemic says the game has been recognized by the CDC as educationally important, and that the company is currently working with major global health organizations to support efforts to contain and control COVID-19.

The Bottom Line: The developers plan to get in touch with the Chinese government agency that made the decision. It does seem rather shortsighted from this side of the world, in that the game could help people understand how pandemics happen and spread. Luckily, the game is still available in other markets on their individual App Stores, Google Play, and Windows Phone.

Via: Ars Technica

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