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WHO’s Play Apart Together campaign uses games to promote social distancing

The World Health Organization is using video games to share the importance of social distancing and proper safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, nearly 60 gaming companies, including major publishers such as Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, and Sega, have officially teamed up with WHO for its Play Apart Together campaign. Even more game companies, large and small, are unofficially participating by giving out free games during this difficult time and using their platforms to promote recommended safety protocols.

The promotional campaign focuses on bringing “special events, exclusives, activities, rewards, and inspiration to some of the most popular games in the world” to help players fight the urge to socialize in person. Examples include the mobile hit Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’s event where players could get bonus rewards from Show Your Style events.

Companies participating in the Play Apart Together campaign will also teach players about health guidelines set by WHO, including physically distancing from other people, washing your hands, and other preventive actions.

“It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement. “Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose, and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative.”

Snap Games’ head Will Wu feels the campaign will help keep younger people at home.

“They have a key role to play in helping stop the spread,” Wu said. “Snap Games has always been a way for Snapchatters to connect and play with their friends even when far apart, so we’re game to support the [Play Apart Together] initiative. We’re committed to helping Snapchatters stay home by offering new games to play and creative tools that raise awareness for our community to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the greater public.”

The original 18 organizations of the Play Apart Together campaign include Activision Blizzard, the Amazon Appstore, Big Fish Games, Dirtybit, Glu Mobile, Jam City, Kabam, Maysalward, Playtika, Pocket Gems, Riot Games, SciPlay, Snap Games, Twitch, Unity, Wooga, YouTube Gaming, and Zynga.

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