After official news that a virus outbreak occurred in China, sales of the popular disease strategy game Plague Inc saw a massive spike in the same area.
Last Monday, China announced that a pneumonia-like illness known as the Coronavirus has broken out, spreading to cities outside of its origin in Wuhan.
Around the same time as the announcement, British game studio Ndemic Creations saw a noticeable spike in downloads for their games Plague Inc and Rebel Inc. The resulting surge caused the game to reach #1 in the paid games chart on the Chinese iOS store by Wednesday.
In Plague Inc, the player has to manage their own disease and try to destroy humanity through infection. This involved upgrading disease features and symptoms to maximize infection rates while avoiding humanity’s attempts at a vaccine.
This is a humorous relation to a very real and serious issue. The Coronavirus, which looks much like a common cold, later evolves into a severe respiratory problem. The Chinese health commission has confirmed 440 infections and nine deaths as a result of the disease over a relatively short amount of time. The issue also expands into how the local government has been handling the issue (which is to say, poorly), but that is another topic for another time.
For now, be sure to wash your hands and maybe check out Plague Inc.