As you may or may not know—based on your own personal exposure to the twin infection vectors of paranoid Facebook posts and dour Twitter threads about U.S. healthcare—the globe is currently facing a teensy little viral pandemic at the moment, as anxieties, financial concerns, and, uh, the death count (all attributable to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak) continue to accrue. But rest assured, citizens of Earth: Your governments are here to take the most important measures possible to keep you and your loved ones safe, which is presumably why China made moves this week to ban a mobile game about manufacturing fake apocalyptic viruses from being played on its citizens’ phones.
This is per The Hollywood Reporter, which notes today that Plague Inc.—which, at 8 years old, is practically a grandparent in the world of mobile gaming—has suddenly been banned in China, after seeing its download numbers double over the span of the last two months, on account of, presumably, reasons. The Chinese government didn’t explicitly link the game—which sees players attempt to eke the tiniest possible amount of control out of a horrific and seemingly inescapable situation and also pretend to be a fake virus trying to wipe out the world’s population—to the coronavirus panic, only stating that it “includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China’ and has been removed.”
The game’s creator, Ndemic Creations, noted on its blog today that the decision is entirely outside its control; it also pointed out that Plague Inc. has been cited by the CDC in the past as an effective tool in teaching regular phone lovers some of the basics and mechanics about how viruses and other contagions spread. In any case, the world continues to prepare itself for some potential bad times ahead, re: dying; Disney announced today that it’ll be shutting Tokyo Disneyland for a few weeks over concerns about the virus, while the Trump administration made its own play for the coveted “Least effectual response to a viral crisis” award by putting Mike Pence in charge of the country’s response this week.