Skip to main content

Pandemic simulation Plague Inc. forced out of Apple’s App Store in China


The pandemic simulation game Plague Inc. has been taken down from Apple’s App Store in China — after finding renewed popularity due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sales of Plague Inc. recently surged, particularly in China, eight years after its release, amid concerns over the coronavirus officially called Covid-19. The app reportedly topped the charts for premium iOS games in China and also climbed up in the rankings in other countries such as the U.S. and U.K. as well.

Developer Ndemic Creations also flagged the app’s recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical organizations around the world as an educational tool for people who want to learn more about how diseases spread.

The Cyberspace Administration of China found Plague Inc. to include content that is illegal in the country, according to Ndemic Creations, resulting in the game’s removal from the Chinese App Store.

“This situation is completely out of our control,” said the studio in a statement.

Ndemic Creations said it is unclear if the takedown is connected to the coronavirus outbreak in China, but the developer again raised Plague Inc.‘s importance as an educational tool, while it is working with major health organizations around the world on how it can help with the health crisis.

“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 U.K., the odds are stacked against us,” said Ndemic Creations. For now, the developer is trying to establish contact with the Cyberspace Administration of China to talk about their concerns with Plague Inc. and hopefully find a solution.

According to Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, Plague Inc. “may have simply been taken down due to sensitivities around the topic and gameplay” amid the coronavirus outbreak. It may also relate to an update released in December 2019 that allowed players to create “fake news” in order to help the propagation of their in-game pandemic. Ndemic Creations recently rolled out updates that fixed the feature.

The game was operating fine before the 'fake news' update (even though it wasn't officially licensed to be distributed in China).

China does ban fake news in video games, especially sensitive info around govt/officials.

See extract below from policy document we wrote- pic.twitter.com/gMFMZeborS

— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) February 27, 2020

The impact of the coronavirus continues to grow as multiple gaming companies announce delays and interruptions. The outbreak has disrupted life in China as daily activities in public spaces and workplaces are put on hold while officials try to contain the virus. With much of the tech industry relying on China for production and materials, a ripple effect continues to be felt — including a profound impact on the gaming world.

Editors' Recommendations

Aaron Mamiit
Aaron received a NES and a copy of Super Mario Bros. for Christmas when he was 4 years old, and he has been fascinated with…
Apple App Store error reportedly saw 20M ratings erased in a week
best apps bumble badland2 app store closeup

A bug caused havoc in Apple’s App Store recently when around 10 million user ratings temporarily vanished in the U.S. and more than 20 million globally.

Spotted by New York-based app analytics firm Appfigures and reported by TechCrunch, the error affected apps from the likes of Google, Microsoft, Nike, and Disney, though smaller developers were also hit. According to Apple, the issue was caused by a bug that's since been fixed and the reviews should be back online.

Read more
Apple backs down, returns parental control app OurPact to App Store

Controversial parental control app OurPact has returned to the iOS App Store, several months after it was removed due to privacy concerns.

In April this year, Apple removed a number of parental control apps which used a technology called Mobile Device Management (MDM). Apple said MDM allows third-party access to a great deal of information about the device it is installed on, including user location, app use, email accounts, camera permissions, and browsing history.

Read more
Avowed: release date window, trailers, gameplay, and more
An environment shot of the Dawnshore Eastern Overlands in Avowed.

Obsidian has been a studio that punches above its weight with amazing RPGs like Pillars of Eternity and South Park: The Stick of Truth, as well as classic games like Fallout: New Vegas and Star War:s Knight of the Old Republic 2. While we're waiting on the sequel to the sci-fi adventure The Outer Worlds 2, the team is taking on its biggest challenge yet. Avowed is a first-person RPG that has a lot of visual similarities to Skyrim, but is set within the original world created for Pillars of Eternity. We've been tracking this game since it was revealed in 2020 and it's now in the final stretch before release. This could be the next great RPG experience you've been looking for, so check out everything you need to know about Avowed.
Release date window
During the January Xbox Developer Direct, we learned that Avowed is currently scheduled to release in fall 2024. No specific date was given, but we anticipate a firm date will be revealed by this summer.
Platforms

With Obsidian being owned by Xbox and a first-party studio, Avowed is an Xbox and PC exclusive. There is some possibility that it could come to other platforms like PlayStation in the future now that Xbox has started experimenting with bringing its exclusives to other platforms, but for now, it is best to assume this title will stay on Xbox and PC.
Trailers
Avowed - Official Gameplay Trailer

Read more