You know what's perfect advertising for a game about infectious diseases? A real-life outbreak of an infectious disease. Downloads of free play virus-em-up Plague Inc. have risen by 50% over the last two weeks, claims developer James Vaughan.
Vaughan suggests that this is due to the much-publicised recent. People want to know more about how these diseases spread.
"This is the first time something in the real world has has an effect on the sales charts, especially since Ebola came over to America," Vaughan. "People are curious about it and want to know more about infectious diseases. Plague Inc. can play a role because it's an intelligent look at how infectious diseases can spread."
It's not entirely accurate, of course. In Plague Inc. diseases are transmitted through air, which is thankfully not something that can happen with ebola. Yet. Vaughan's not sure he wants to change the game to more accurately reflect the current outbreak, at the risk of trivializing or exploiting the situation.
"From an academic point of view the model could very easily be adapted," he explains. "But at the moment it's important to keep the focus on the outbreak and I don't want to appear to be trivializing it by taking the outbreak and making it into a game. Plague Inc. is already able to raise awareness of the significance of the outbreak."
The downloads discussed are for the free version. While you can play Plague Inc. for free on mobiles and tablets, the early access PC and Mac versions will cost you £11.99. They add new virus types, scenarios and other content.