Gaming

Video games joining fight against coronavirus with in-game warning ads


Gamers be like ‘We were already doing that’ (Pic: King.com Ltd)

Some game developers are partnering with the government to share in-game messages that raise awareness about the coronavirus.

Gaming is already enough of a reason for us to stay indoors during the coronavirus pandemic, but certain developers are aiming to take it one step further.

As part of a joint effort with the UK government, select games will be sharing the ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ message as adverts to help try and stop the spread of the virus, following on from WHO’s own efforts to promote social distancing by partnering with games companies.

The games in question will be Candy Crush Saga, DiRT Rally 2.0, and Farm Heroes Saga, so Final Fantasy 7 Remake players don’t need to worry about Cloud turning to the camera every 30 minutes advising them to wash their hands.

Stay At Home posters have already begun appearing in DiRT Rally 2.0, which has a player-base in the millions.

Developer Codemasters’ Vice President Toby Evan-Jones said ‘We came to realise that technology within our games, which enables the remote updating of banners within the virtual environment, could be repurposed to assist with the coronavirus communication effort.’

Activision Blizzard, which publishes Candy Crush Saga, plans on including the ads in not just Candy Crush but other mobile games, and has also donated more than 230 ‘digital poster’ advertising spaces in London to be used for public health messages.

These measures to ensure social distancing are getting over the top (Pic: Rebellion)

Rebellion, the studio behind the Sniper Elite series, will be adding the message to its games, with links to relevant government pages being shown whenever its games are loaded up. It also offered to share the adverts in any comics it publishes.

‘We know how fundamentally beneficial video games, like Sniper Elite and Strange Brigade, and comics, like 2000 AD, have been and will continue to be for many of us during this extraordinary time,’ said Rebellion co-founder Jason Kingsley.

‘It makes total sense for us to help promote important public health messaging while keeping those fans entertained in the safety of their homes.’

Currently, the government has extended an open invitation for other companies to join in the effort.

‘It is absolutely vital that we all follow the simple Government advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives,’ said culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

‘I’m delighted to see the UK’s brilliant video games industry stepping up to strongly reinforce this message to gamers across the UK.’

Email gamecentral@metro.co.uk, leave a comment below, and follow us on Twitter.

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