Plague Inc. Tops Chinese Charts Thanks to Coronavirus Outbreak

By Alistair Jones on at

As the threat of the Coronavirus continues to loom over China, authorities are taking increasingly severe steps in order to contain it, cancelling public festivals and even closing cinemas to prevent contamination. The Chinese public, however, seems to be looking at the outbreak with a bit of a sense of humour.

Plague Inc., a mobile game developed by Bristol-based Ndemic Creations in which players try to develop a disease powerful enough to wipe out humanity, has surged in the Chinese iOS charts. First released in 2012, data from Sensor Tower (via QZ) suggests that it found itself in fifth place in the paid charts on Monday, January 20. Two days later, it was the most-downloaded paid game on the store. Ndemic's other game, Rebel Inc., also jumped, from 27th on Monday to fifth on Wednesday.

In-game, Chinese social media users have been launching their viruses from their country, and making use of the fake news scenario that allows their disease to spread through public misinformation. That particular scenario echoes criticism of Chinese authorities, who have repeatedly been criticised for their slow handling of similar outbreaks in the past.