Update: Industry specialist Daniel Ahmad reports that Plague Inc. is no longer available to Chinese Steam users. In all likelihood, the disappearance of the game from the platform is due to the same circumstances as in the App Store.
- The Chinese Cyberspace Administration has forced App Store to remove Plague Inc.;
- The reason for this is "content that has been found illegal in China";
- However, it is not yet clear whether this has any connection with the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.
The Chinese Cyberspace Administration has forced the removal of Plague Inc. from App Store. The reason for pulling the app is because it "includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China". However, the developers point out that it is not yet known whether the situation has any connection with the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. The developers are currently trying to contact the Chinese Cyberspace Administration and restore the title to the market. At the same time they inform that outside China the game will be supported and updated all the time.
"We are working very hard to try and find a way to get the game back in the hands of Chinese players - we don’t want to give up on you - however, as a tiny independent games studio in the UK, the odds are stacked against us. Our immediate priority is to try and make contact with the Cyberspace Administration of China to understand their concerns and work with them to find a resolution."
The outbreak contributed to increased interest in Plague Inc. (which may have indirectly caused the Chinese authorities to take a closer look at the title more than seven years after its global release). According to data from the end of January this year, the title has jumped to the first place of the most frequently downloaded paid applications in China. Already then, the developers issued a special statement to explain to the players that their work, yes, is geared towards education and awareness-raising, but is by no means the best source of information about coronavirus and the ongoing epidemic.