Plague Inc. launched for iOS devices years ago, and it remains one of the most popular mobile games out there.

Unfortunately, it looks like the title has been pulled from the App Store in China. The timing has certainly raised some eyebrows, considering the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. According to the developer of Plague Inc., Ndemic Creations, the game apparently features “content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China”. As a result, the app has been removed from the China App Store.

In the blog post confirming the app’s removal, Ndemic Creations says the “situation is completely out of our control”.

Plague Inc. is a huge critical and commercial success. Eight years old and with over 130 million players, it’s the #1 strategy/simulation game worldwide and has been the most popular paid game in China for many years. Plague Inc. stands out as an intelligent and sophisticated simulation that encourages players to think and learn more about serious public health issues. We have a huge amount of respect for our Chinese players and are devastated that they are no longer able to access and play Plague Inc.

The blog post adds that it remains unknown if the removal of the app is somehow related to the coronavirus outbreak. But the developer is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and major global health organizations to find out how they can help, in whatever way they can.

However, Plague Inc.’s educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19.

Ndemic Creations says it is trying to work out the next steps to hopefully get Plague Inc. back into the China App Store. However, nothing is guaranteed and there is certainly no timeline for when, or even if, the app might return.

It’s worth noting that, following the emergence of COVID-19, downloads for Plague Inc. in China skyrocketed. It quickly became the top paid game in the China App Store. Following the app’s resurgence in the region, Ndemic Creations released a statement basically outlining the fact that while the game itself can be informative, and it’s meant to be realistic in many aspects regarding the spread of diseases, it is, ultimately, just a game.

Plague Inc. is currently listed as the #1 game in the Strategy category in the United States.