The makers of the smash-hit video game Plague Inc. have seen players flock to their game since the coronavirus outbreak, as reported in The Big Issue earlier this month, so now they are contributing to the global fight to stop it.
The game tasks players with playing the role of a virus and dealing with the attempts from countries around the world to prevent its spread – a setup that is familiar to us all as we negotiate the coronavirus outbreak.
Everyone is impacted by COVID-19. On behalf of all Plague Inc. players, we have just donated a quarter of a million dollars to @CEPIvaccines and @WHO to help fight it.https://t.co/kAZtjwn89b pic.twitter.com/DinQpvRqCk
— Plague Inc. / Rebel Inc. (@NdemicCreations) March 23, 2020
Plague Inc. is developed by Ndemic Creations who are passing on the profits from sales of the game with a $250,000 (£213,012) donation to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and their hunt for a vaccine.
Ndemic’s founder James Vaughan said: “Eight years ago, I never imagined the real world would come to resemble a game of Plague Inc. or that so many players would be using Plague Inc. to help them get through an actual pandemic.
“We are proud to be able to help support the vital work of the WHO and CEPI as they work towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19.”
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Plague Inc. has been championed for its educational benefits as well as for raising awareness of the work that goes into tackling outbreaks and pandemics, like the one currently gripping the world.
But players have been calling on the developer to allow them to switch up their role and Ndemic have responded by revealing a new game mode that sees players no longer playing as the destructive virus and instead saving the world.
The free update, which will be available soon, will see players managing disease progression and boosting healthcare systems as well as controlling real-world actions such as triaging, quarantining, social distancing and closing of public services.
It has been put together with support from CEPI and WHO and both organisations have praised Ndemic for their efforts, which are unique among the gaming community.
“We are delighted that Ndemic Creations have so generously contributed to our crucial vaccine development work, especially as we tackle the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19,” said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI. “Games have an important role in raising awareness of the challenges the world is currently facing. 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 epidemic threats.”
Elizabeth Cousens, president & CEO of the UN Foundation added: “In this unprecedented pandemic with unprecedented needs, global cooperation is more important than ever.
“I am so thankful to Ndemic Creations’ contribution to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Their donation will support the World Health Organization’s lifesaving work.”