Why Has Plague Inc. Gained Popularity from the Spread of Coronavirus?
Although the first symptom of a new respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China just over a month ago, an outbreak of the coronavirus has already given rise to thousands of confirmed cases in China alone and produced hundreds of civilian deaths. According to the worldometer, China confirmed 37,198 cases and 811 deaths as of February 9th. It also verified that the virus has spread to 27 other countries, including Japan, South Korea, Germany and the U.S., affecting 37,552 individuals and losing 813 people in the process.
The coronavirus epidemic can be connected with a rise of a video game called Plague Inc., which is a real-time strategy game for players to create and spread a pathogen in order to demolish the world with a deadly plague. The spread of coronavirus is certainly correlated with the objective of this video game because the goal of the players is to spread the plague and destroy humanity as quickly as possible. On the other hand, it also promotes the importance of early containment of the plague by demonstrating how easily a virus can spread to other regions of the world. As a result, it is safe to say that the rise in popularity of Plague Inc. has suggested the users to take countermeasures to protect themselves from actually catching the coronavirus in reality.
The Rise in Popularity of Plague Inc. in Japan
The rise in popularity of Plague Inc. is associated with the spread of coronavirus across the world. Japan has been affected by the virus the most due to its close proximity and close economic ties with China through trade. Investopedia describes that “China and Japan trade an estimated $350 billion worth of goods and services with each other annually. This qualifies them as one of the largest trading partnerships in the world”. Major auto companies in Japan also aim to build factories in China in order to stabilize the costs of the local markets overseas. These phenomenons demonstrate that growing integration of manufacturing infrastructure has promoted globalization of markets, which resulted in an increase in movement of people and goods across international borders. Correspondingly, globalization has also facilitated the spread of fatal diseases, namely coronavirus, to Japan as well. According to worldometer, Japan confirmed that 89 people had been infected by the virus as of February 9th. The spread of such disease has also given rise to Plague Inc. in Japan since more people became aware of the dangers of the disease. In fact, App Ape indicates that the app’s MAU in Japan is over 150,000 and the app gained more than 100,000 user last month alone. The game is also ranked No.8 in the Simulation category.
Globalization and Epidemic
The increase in cross-border and cross-continental movement of people and goods through globalization has certainly promoted the virus to spread all over the world. Situated in East Asia not far from where the virus originated, South Korea reported that 24 people got infected by the virus. Additionally, wordometer explains that Germany and the US confirmed 14 and 12 infected cases respectively.(as of February 9th)
The statistics of coronavirus appear to be an ideal outcome of Plague Inc. manipulated by players to spread the virus and eradicate humanity. According to denfaminicogamer, China had been a perfect location to originate coronavirus because the country has one of the largest populations in the world, shares international borders with 14 sovereign states and 2 territories, and has overseen a significant development on public transport. Similarly, as the disease spread across the borders in the video game, the affected countries on map turn red in the process. This invokes the players to turn more regions in red by creating a strategy to effectively spread the virus and countering medical remedies created by humans.
The high correlation between what is happening in reality and the virtual world has attracted many users to play the video game. Due to the spread of virus, Plague Inc. is now popular not only in East Asia, but also in Europe as well as North America. As of February 11th, App Ape reported that WAU in South Korea is less than 500,000 and the app is ranked No.1 in the Simulation category. It has also gained close to 100,000 users since last week.
Correspondingly, Germany is reported to have a MAU of around 300,000 and gained approximately 250,000 more users from last month, making it number one app in Simulation category.
Finally, the U.S. has also witnessed a rise in popularity of the video game, with a MAU of over 1 million, 744,403 of which joined the app in the last month. The fact that the app is ranked No.2 in the Simulation category also supports the recent boom of Plague Inc. in the country.
Accordingly, the recent spread of coronavirus is related to the current boom of Plague Inc. across the world. The video game is now being enjoyed by many users, and by learning about how to effectively spread the plague in the virtual world, Plague Inc. hopes for more users to take cautious measures to protect themselves from actually catching coronavirus in reality.
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