Plague Inc, an eight-year-old smartphone game has seen a surprising resurgence, specifically in China, in the past few days, many believe largely a result of the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the Wuhan region of China.
The game from UK-based developer Ndemic Creations allows players to, in essence, take control of a pathogen that's infecting the globe.
"Plague Inc. is a unique mix of high strategy and terrifyingly realistic simulation," Ndemic explains on the games' website.
"Your pathogen has just infected 'Patient Zero'. Now you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself."
In a bizarre twist, however, it seems that the game has shot to the top of the Apple app charts and as of Wednesday morning, it was the No. 1 paid app in China.
The news was first relayed by Daniel Ahmad , a Senior Analyst at Niko Partners who covers the video games market in China & Asia.
"China’s health commission confirmed recently that the Wuhan coronavirus, a new pneumonia like disease, had spread to around 300 people." Ahmad first explained.
"This news has caused Plague Inc, a strategy game about a deadly plague that infects the world, to reach #1 on the paid iOS game chart in China."
The New York Post has suggested that the growin interest in the app may be seen as a way for Chinese users to cope with fears of the coronavirus as it grips the nation.
Over on Weibo, which for those who don't know is essentially China's equivalent of Twitter, there's a variety of responses from Chinese residents in response to the app's sudden rise in popularity.
"I shouldn’t joke about this, but when I was watching the live broadcast of the Wuhan outbreak, I genuinely felt like it was deja vu from Plague Inc." one user explained.
Another added, “The best way to eliminate fear is to look fear straight in the face.”
Whilst others chose to look on the positives of the game, writing, “The game ostensibly asks us to destroy the world with a pathogen, but it is actually educating us on science and teaches us how to confront it if we fall sick.”
Ndemic also recent tweeted to say that they have been receiving "a lot of questions” about the coronavirus outbreak.
Thankfully the developer has shared a link to the World Health Organization should anyone have genuine questions or concerns.
So far China has confirmed over 500 cases of the disease in the country and has since quarantined Wuhan as the Coronavirus continues to spread.
It is not yet clear how the virus has spread between humans and bats but scientists believe “there may be an unknown intermediate”.
The UK Foreign Office has warned Brits not to travel to Wuhan amid fears of a global outbreak.
Leading Virologists also suggest billions could be at risk.
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