World Health Organization’s U-turn over online gaming to fight Covid-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) has united with some of the games industry’s biggest names to create the #PlayApartTogether initiative to encourage social distancing, despite declaring “gaming disorder” an illness in 2018.
WHO launched their #PlayApartTogether campaign over the weekend to fight the Covid-19 pandemic by “flattening the curve” and saving lives. 18 companies from the gaming industry, including Activision Blizzard (known for the Call of Duty series), Unity (Assasin’s Creed) and Zynga (Farmville), have teamed up to encourage players to follow the WHO’s health guidelines – including social distancing and hand hygiene.
The campaign comes a few years after defining “gaming disorder” an illness. Dr Susumu Higuchi, who worked together with the World Health Organization to define the disorder, called addiction to gaming “harder to treat than addiction to alcohol or drugs because the internet is everywhere.”
Several leaders of the gaming companies involved in the campaign took to social media to praise the partnership:
Bobby Kotick – CEO, Activision Blizzard
Games are the perfect platform to engage global communities and spread the message to practice safe physical distancing and play games responsibly. Activision Blizzard is honored to partner with @WHO to support this important initiative. #PlayApartTogether https://t.co/fudIfIaygO pic.twitter.com/JudW74GAcr
— Bobby Kotick (@BobbyKotick) March 28, 2020
Bernard Kim – President of Publishing, Zynga
— Bernard Kim (@GamerBK) March 29, 2020