Plague Inc Tops China’s App Store Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Plague Inc Tops China’s App Store Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

There’s something morbid about playing a game about the spread of plague while your country is under biosiege. But as China struggles to contain the spread of the deadly coronoavirus, going as far to quarantine 20 million citizens in the city of Wuhan, Chinese gamers have taken to some dark humour by unwinding with Plague Inc.

Ndemic Creations’ death simulator, where you work to destroy the world by evolving a deadly pathogen before humans can stop it, was first released in 2012. It’s been re-released on Steam since then, and the developers have since released Rebel Inc: Escalation, a military and political simulator that leverages some of the AI and algorithm work built for Plague Inc.

But it’s Plague Inc that’s come back into favour. Abacus, the tech and gaming offshoot of the South China Morning Post, has reported that Plague Inc rose to the top of the paid downloads charts for the Chinese App Store in China, and it’s currently the fifth most popular app in China among all free and paid apps.

Ndemic Creations even took the time to address the coronavirus outbreak, saying they were “getting a lot of questions” about the virus. That’s not uncommon for the studio’s official Twitter, which regularly posts links and faactoids about various diseases and scientific developments.

It’s not a surprise that Plague Inc‘s original mobile version is popular again: it’s been downloaded more than 120 million times, which is a huge result for a paid app, and the developers have done tie ins with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. James Caughan, creator of the game, was even invited by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to talk about the game, with the CDC seeing the game as an unusual way of raising awareness about diseases and disease prevention.


  • Legit when I was watching the news headlines I was thinking about this game. They need to shut every flight going out of China until this is sorted.

    They won’t of course… but I’m having serious flash backs to when I played a game as the Virus in China and I destroyed the world.

    • It’s highly unlikely that that the entire country will get quarantined unless the virus becomes far more lethal.
      The current city wide lock downs are more about prevention and showing action in the face of criticism.
      To put it in context, last years flu seasons were far more lethal and most of the concern and hysteria is based on the fact that we don’t have vaccine for this particular strain of virus yet.

      There’s always a tiny chance this could blow up in to something more serious but at this stage it’s not as bad as some media outlets are making it out to be.

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