In Malaysia, we’re already in the second week of our one-month self-quarantine in accordance with the Government’s Movement Control Order mandate. Many of us have been working from home and doing whatever we can to pass the time, including playing video games, of course.
Your family members or housemates may be berating you for gaming too much during this time, but don’t worry, playing video games while staying at home to prevent the Coronavirus COVID-19 virus from spreading is, in fact, endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
We’re not making stuff up, it’s true. On Saturday (28 March 2020), several prominent companies from the games industry are working with the WHO to launch a new initiative titled #PlayApartTogether to promote gaming as a safe and healthy medium of entertainment while practising social distancing.
These include publishers and developers such as:
- Activision Blizzard
- Amazon Appstore
- Big Fish Games
- Glu Mobile
- Jam City
- Pocket Gems
- Riot Games
- Snap Games
- YouTube Gaming
As part of WHO’s #PlayApartTogether initiative, these big players in the games industry will bring special events, exclusives, activities, rewards and inspiration to some of their games.
These efforts include:
Zynga will make more content available free in mobile game Dawn of Titans and will make a free BMW Z04 available in CSR Racing 2 if players from around the world complete over 250 million races across the next two weeks.
Dirtybit will give Fun Run 3 players additional rewards for completing quests.
Meanwhile, Unity is giving away three free months of its Unity Learn Premium game development platform. According to the blog post, the program provided by Unity includes courses, tutorials, live sessions, and a virtual class teaching the art of coding.
In addition, Riot Games is offering a free online game design curriculum for middle school and high school students.
ATTENTION ALL PARENTS! Did you know we have a free game design curriculum for middle and high schoolers? These lesson plans are built for a classroom, but we bet they’d be great at home. All you need is internet and a printer! Check them out here: https://t.co/v2OG1Vi7Fj pic.twitter.com/Z1UU73R5Ii
â€” Riot Games (@riotgames) March 27, 2020
WHO US ambassador Ray Chambers said in a tweet:
Weâ€™re at a crucial moment in defining outcomes of this pandemic. Games industry companies have a global audience – we encourage all to #PlayApartTogether. More physical distancing + other measures will help to flatten the curve + save lives. https://t.co/QhX0ssN0lH
â€” Ray Chambers (@RaymondChambers) March 28, 2020
Riot Games CEO also said in a tweet:
Physical distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation! Let’s stay physically apart to help flatten the curve and #PlayApartTogether to help power through this crisis. We can save the world, for real this time! Let’s beat this COVID-19 boss battle together @WHO
â€” nicolo (@niiicolo) March 28, 2020
This move is a welcome one from the WHO; the very same WHO that previously classified gaming disorder or addiction as an officially-recognized disease/disorder in 2018 (which was challenged by parties representing the games industry).
All we can say is keep on keeping on, fellow gamers. Game on!