Plague Inc. pulled from the App Store in China amid coronavirus outbreak

Plague Inc., where you create a disease with the goal of spreading it across the world, has been removed from the App Store in China amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“We’ve just been informed that Plague Inc. ‘includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China’ and has been removed from the China App Store,” Ndemic Creations said in a blog post. “The situation is completely out of our control.”

This “very sad news” comes less than a week after Ndemic responded to Plague Inc.’s post-COVID-19 sales surge. At the time, the studio noted that, while Plague Inc. was designed to be realistic and informative, it was never intended to glorify real viruses or act as a “scientific model.”

It’s unclear at this time precisely what Chinese laws Plague Inc. violates. It’s possible that no laws have actually been broken, and Plague Inc.’s App Store removal is directly tied to the COVID-19 outbreak, but we (and Ndemic Creations) cannot be sure for now. Regardless, the timing seems to point toward that possibility. Plague Inc. was popular in China far before COVID-19 began to spread, so it seems unlikely that the country’s authorities were unaware of its existence until now.

In late January, Plague Inc. saw a resurgence in downloads in China and became the country’s top paid iOS game. In response, Ndemic Creations released a statement reminding players that Plague Inc., while it was designed to be realistic and informative about how diseases spread, is just a game. It’s currently the top paid game in the US App Store. “We would always recommend that players get their information directly from local and global health authorities,” the company said in January.

Ndemic Creations is doing its best to bring Plague Inc. back to China, but as the studio notes, the odds are “stacked against” it. Despite Plague Inc.’s success, Ndemic is a relatively small team, and it doesn’t have the influence of a gaming giant like EA or Ubisoft. Nonetheless, the company says its immediate priority is to try to make contact with the Cyberspace Administration of China in the hopes of getting Plague Inc. re-listed on the Chinese App Store.

(Visited 46 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.