The boom of «Plaga Inc.», the video game that consists of infecting humanity with a virus
In 2012, the company Ndemic Creations created a video game called “Plague Inc.”, which quickly caught on with medical students around the world. The player must choose a pathogen (viruses, bacteria, fungi …) and equip it with the appropriate characteristics so that its conquest of the planet is a success. You can choose its mode of transmission, its symptoms, its mortality rate, its resistance to medicines and different climates, and even the country where it is released (the less economic development, the easier it is for the virus to be transmitted without being detected ). The Object of the game is to infect and kill the entire human population world, but with a time limit: must be completed before humans find a cure.
The video game is based on scientific and medical elements, and can be considered as a fun learning method. In 2014 already had a rebound in downloads due to the Ebola crisis, but since the outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been a boom in users that has made it a real phenomenon. After becoming the most downloaded game in China in recent weeks, the Chinese government has removed it from Apple’s app store in this country. “We are not clear if this elimination is related to the coronavirus outbreak that is taking place in China,” says the company Ndemic Creations in a statement.
Right now, this application that costs $ 0.99 is listed as the highest paid in the Apple App Store, surpassing the popular Minecraft. On the Steam distribution platform, it has reached its historical record with an average of almost 4,000 players in recent days and a peak of 17,889 users. Only in January, its growth percentage was 257%.
Its creator, James Vaughan, was invited in 2013 to a conference at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to talk about how these video games can be used to inform and educate the public. The CDC believes that the game can serve to “increase public awareness of epidemics and disease transmission.”, because it “creates a compelling world on serious public health issues.”
Faced with this video game boom, the company assures that «Plague Inc. has been published for eight years and every time there is a disease outbreak we see an increase in playersas people seek to learn more about how diseases spread and understand the complexities of viral outbreaks. We specifically design the game to be realistic and informative, without generating sensationalism about serious real-world problems »