Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Plague Inc.' Developer Donates $250,000 to Fight Coronavirus Pandemic

Plague Inc - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Ndemic Creations

Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: 'Pokemon Go' sees its best week in spending of the year; Hammer Bro character comes to 'Mario Kart Tour'; and 'Animal Crossing' Switch and mobile titles introduce crossover event.

Mobile Games Hotspot is a curated weekly roundup of the top stories in gaming on-the-go.

Plague Inc., a game with a main goal of infecting and eliminating a majority of the world population through the spread of a virus, has introduced a new mode focused on curing diseases and stopping a worldwide pandemic.

According to developer Ndemic Creations, it came about after receiving several requests from fans to include something in line with the current novel coronavirus pandemic. In this new mode, set to be released in a future update, players will control health care-boosting systems alongside regulating real-world actions like triaging, quarantining, social distancing and the closing of public services. The new mode is being developed with the help of medical experts from WHO and other organizations.

In addition to the new gameplay mode, Ndemic Creations donated $250,000, split between the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

In a blog post, Plague Inc. creator James Vaughan expressed his thoughts on current events: “Eight years ago, I never imagined the real world would come to resemble a game of Plague Inc. or that so many players would be using Plague Inc. to help them get through an actual pandemic. We are proud to be able to help support the vital work of the WHO and CEPI as they work towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19."

Plague Inc. recently made headlines when it was removed from the Chinese App Store following a sharp increase of downloads in the month of February. The mobile game, released in 2012, has seen a spike in popularity across the globe since the current pandemic began.

Here's what else is happening in the world of mobile games:

Pokemon Go Sees Best Week of 2020

Despite being a game focused on outdoor interactivity, including having recent events scale back to help players play at home, Pokemon Go saw a boost in spending, making the week of March 16 its highest grossing seven-day period of 2020, according to a report from Sensor Tower. The game generated $23 million in gross revenue last week, a more than 66 percent increase from the previous week's $13.8 million, which generally matched previous weeks in 2020.

Hammer Bro Infiltrates Mario Kart Tour

A new tour adding four new drivers along with several new rewards kicked off in Mario Kart Tour this week. The Hammer Bro Tour introduces four variations of the aforementioned character: a normal Hammer Bro, Boomerang Bro, Fire Bro and Ice Bro. The drivers come with two new courses, both of which originate from past entries in the series. They are Donut Plains 1 from Super Mario Kart on the SNES and Bowser's Castle 2 from Mario Kart: Super Circuit on the Game Boy Advance.

Pocket Camp Gets Animal Crossing: New Horizons Rewards

Animal Crossing: New Horizons' big release on the Nintendo Switch hasn't forgotten its mobile counterpart, as special rewards are now available in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and vice versa, all thanks to an ongoing special crossover event. From now until April 1, linking your Nintendo account to the Pocket Camp mobile game will net you a download code that can be entered into the Switch game. Doing this will get you 50 free Leaf Tickets for Pocket Camp, while entering the code in New Horizons will add new items to the Nook Shopping Promotions item list. Some of these include a campsite sign and a Pocket Camp-inspired tee.

The Latest for Apple Arcade

Since its last update in February, three new games have been added to Apple's expanding subscription game service, Apple Arcade. Despite the increasing catalog of games, the subscription fee remains at $4.99 a month. The three new games are the endless multiplayer climber Crossy Road Castle, the pinball-like dungeon crawler Roundguard and the 3D robotic spider controlling Spyder.