Plague Inc. ‘is not a scientific model’, says UK dev in wake of Coronavirus outbreak

The developer of plague simulator Plague Inc. has issued a statement to remind players that its disease-contamination game – whilst “realistic and informative” – is “not a scientific model”.

The real-time strategy game – which has the aim of infecting the global population to bring about “the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global plague” – has seen a surge in popularity since the Coronavirus outbreak in China, so much so UK-based developer Ndemic Creations saw its website go offline over the weekend due to overwhelming interest in the eight-year-old simulator. 

Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak its concurrent peak on Steam was 4601, a record reached almost two years ago in April 2018. It’s current concurrent peak now clocks in 17,889 players, and a 24-hour peak of 15,158. It’s thought interest has chiefly been driven by Chinese players, where the virus originated.


“The Coronavirus outbreak in China is deeply concerning and we’ve received a lot of questions from players and the media,” the company said in a statement on its website. “Plague Inc. has been out for eight years now and whenever there is an outbreak of disease we see an increase in players, as people seek to find out more about how diseases spread and to understand the complexities of viral outbreaks.

“We specifically designed the game to be realistic and informative, while not sensationalising serious real-world issues. This has been recognised by the CDC and other leading medical organisations around the world.

“However, please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model and that the current coronavirus outbreak is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people. We would always recommend that players get their information directly from local and global health authorities.”

At the time of writing, there have now been 2798 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, 2741 of which stem from China. A further 5794 cases are suspected but have yet to be confirmed. 37 people in 11 other countries have also been confirmed as having the virus.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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