WHO says video games could help fight coronavirus spread

The Covid pandemic has overturned each aspect of every day life and individuals are hoping to keep themselves engaged in manners other than viewing “The Office” for the eighth time.

Enter computer games.

The computer game industry, related to the World Health Organization, dispatched a mission known as #PlayApartTogether, promoting the advantages of gamers to remain socially removed, while as yet interfacing with others around the globe with an end goal to battle COVID-19.

“It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in the statement. “Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative.”

In total, 19 companies have joined the program, including Activision Blizzard, Amazon Appstore and Twitch.

“The #PlayApartTogether initiative is a reminder that even while it’s crucial we keep our distance from one another, we can keep enjoying the games we love and stay connected with people online,” Michael Aragon, SVP of Content at Twitch, added. “We’re pleased to share key messages from the WHO alongside other members of the initiative to continue providing a place where people can come together, play games and create community.”

In 2018, the WHO said compulsively playing video games qualified as a mental health condition, known as “Gaming Disorder.”

At the time, the agency and other experts were quick to note that cases of the condition are still very rare, with no more than up to 3 percent of all gamers believed to be affected.

Some video game companies have tweaked their games to be more accessible for the stay-at-home mandates from governments across the world.

In mid-March, Niantic Labs, maker of the wildly popular “Pokemon Go” augmented reality app, announced it made it easier for gamers to play the game indoors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“The safety of our global player community is our top priority. COVID-19 is challenging us and the world to adjust,” tweeted Niantic Labs on March 12. “We’re putting our focus on expanding features and experiences in our games that can be enjoyed in an individual setting and that also encourage exploration.

“Pokémon GO” revenue has reportedly spiked during the coronavirus pandemic. Gamesindustry.biz, citing data from SensorTower, reports that the game recently enjoyed its best week for revenue this year.

A Baptist church in Texas said it would do a virtual Easter egg hunt using the popular video game Minecraft because of the pandemic.

As of Thursday morning, at least 951,000 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, 216,000 of which are in the US. The disease has accounted for at least 48,320 deaths around the world, including at least 5,100 people in the US.

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