The popular disease-based game, Plague Inc., has been removed from the China App Store and Steam for featuring “illegal” content.
Plague Inc. is currently the “number one strategy/simulation” game played worldwide, with over 130 million players, and was the “most popular paid game in China” at the time of its removal.
Players play as a disease of various forms, including viruses, bacterium and fungi, and have to battle against humanity to wipe them out before they find a cure.
The game was removed from the China App Store last week, and from the Chinese version of Steam, the popular PC platform, on Monday.
Ndemic Creations, the British-based developer of Plague Inc., released a statement on the removal of their game, telling players that it had been taken down for featuring content “that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China,” and that they were “devastated” that it had been taken down:
It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing. However, Plague Inc.’s educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19. We are working very hard to try and find a way to get the game back in the hands of Chinese players – we don’t want to give up on you – however, as a tiny independent games studio in the UK, the odds are stacked against us. Our immediate priority is to try and make contact with the Cyberspace Administration of China to understand their concerns and work with them to find a resolution.
The coronavirus outbreak started in China at the tail end of December last year, and quickly spread worldwide, with around 95,000 cases of the disease confirmed around the world – the vast majority of those being contained within China itself.
Some players of Plague Inc., said that they having been the playing the game as a means of coping with their fears surrounding the situation.