Video Game Publishers Team Up to Promote Social Distancing with Play Apart Together Initiative

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Video Game Publishers Team Up to Promote Social Distancing with Play Apart Together Initiative

Major game publishers, including Activision Blizzard and Twitch, team up with the World Health Organization to promote social distancing with a campaign called “Play Apart Together.”

To encourage people to stay inside during the quarantine, the World Health Organization and some of the largest video game publishers launch a campaign to promote gaming. This operation, called “Play Apart Together,” is a worldwide promotional campaign to remind people of the social distancing measures recommended to stem the coronavirus epidemic.

The WHO fully supports this mobilization of the gaming industry as it is a powerful media to raise awareness of “millions of people”, according to Ray Chambers, one of its highest representatives. “Game publishers will encourage players to stay away and observe other safety measures, including hand hygiene,” he said in a statement.

The beginning of a new relationship between the WHO and video games

The World Health Organization's support for the video game industry is rather new. In June 2018, and despite protests from video game publishers, the WHO officially recognized addiction to video games as a mental illness. Gaming-related disorders are now listed with a large number of psychological pathologies in the International Classification of Diseases(ICD-11).

The WHO determines the addiction to video games by a series of characteristics:

– Impaired control over gaming,

– Increasing priority given to gaming over other activities, and

– Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

By supporting #PlayApartTogether, the WHO state that they condemn the addiction, not video games themselves.

Which video game publishers support the #PlayApartTogether initiative?

The #PlayApartTogether initiative gathers 18 game industry leaders. They will each promote key messages from the World Health Organization to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The companies joining the #PlayApartTogether program are:

  • Activision Blizzard (World of Warcraft, Overwatch, StarCraft II)
  • Kabam (Marvel: Contest of Champions)
  • Snap Games (Snapchat)
  • Amazon Appstore
  • Maysalward (Dominoes Pro Mobile Game)
  • Twitch
  • Big Fish Games (Mystery Case Files game series)
  • Playtika (World Series of Poker)
  • Unity
  • Dirtybit (Fun Run game series)
  • Pocket Gems (War Dragons)
  • Wooga (Diamond Dash)
  • Glu Mobile (Diner Dash, Age of Empire III)
  • Riot Games (League of Legends, Valorant)
  • YouTube Gaming
  • Jam City (Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery)
  • SciPlay
  • Zynga (FarmVille, Draw Something, Words with Friends)

Players are rewarded for staying at home

Among all the video game companies taking part to the #PlayApartTogether project, some support the initiative by rewarding gamers who stay at home gaming instead of going out during this time of quarantine. These rewards are usually new features or content available for free, giving players more things to do while enjoying the game.

Here are some examples of video game publishers supporting #PlayTogetherAtHome directly in-game:

  • Dirtybit gives players extra rewards when they complete a quest in Fun Run 3
  • Pocket Gems adds new content and bonuses into Episode and War Dragons
  • Zynga gives players more playtime in Dawn of Titans for free

Moreover, some companies want to help developers create new games while they have more free time. Riot Games open a free Online Game Design Curriculum, while Unity offer three months of its Unity Learn Premium game development platform.

You can follow #PlayApartTogether on social media for more updates and details. Finally, as Tim Fields, CEO of Kabam, said: “You can be a hero by playing with your friends, together but apart.”

Video Game Publishers Team Up to Promote Social Distancing with Play Apart Together Initiative
Ophelie Castelot
Ophelie is both an esport and journalism lover. She is the former head of the CS:GO section for a major esport website. Ophelie has been analyzing Overwatch ever since its release in 2016.