WHO campaign promotes gaming as a preferred coronavirus pandemic pastime


Activision Blizzard, YouTube and Big Fish Games are among the industry leaders launching an initiative with WHO to tout video games as a healthy activity to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Gamers around the world can rejoice. The World Health Organization is advising everyone to play video games to combat social isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. There’s a new campaign called #PlayApartTogether with 18 of the world’s biggest game industry leaders participating to promote the cause.

The campaign is a way to remind everyone of the importance of social distancing to avoid spreading the coronavirus, but also giving people a way to feel connected with each other remotely.

Each of the game industry leaders participating in the initiative is encouraging its users to follow the WHO’s health guidelines, which include physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and other preventive actions people can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

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“It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. 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,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, in a press release.

Image: WHO

Jeff Karp, managing director and president of Big Fish Games, said in a press release, “There has perhaps never been a more pivotal time than present, for solidarity around a cause, such as the one facing us now with COVID-19. Together, with our global community of games publishers and the technical guidance of the World Health Organization, we hope to reach millions of players across our titles with the #PlayApartTogether campaign. Through games like Cooking Craze, Gummy Drop, Decurse and Fairway Solitaire, we can share WHO’s important message of safety while letting our community know that they are not alone. We are all in this together, even if we are apart.”

At YouTube, Ryan Wyatt, global head of gaming, said in a press release, “For 15 years, YouTube has been a community where people do things alone but together through #withme videos — but it’s more important now than ever to #StayHome and #PlayApartTogether. Some of the most impactful moments on YouTube have been creators virtually engaging with fans and other gaming creators halfway around the world via livestreams. Gamers know how to come together, even when we’re apart, so let’s be safe during this time and do our part as an industry to flatten the curve.”

Playtika is offering in-game incentives to the more than 30 million players who play its titles every month to try to encourage participation in the campaign.

Playtika CEO Robert Antokol said, “At Playtika, we believe that play is an integral part of life, even in the toughest of times. We are proud to promote messages by the World Health Organisation and to join this coalition of games industry leaders to support the #PlayApartTogether campaign. As part of this important response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Playtika is fully committed to helping people worldwide stay safe and feel connected.”

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The companies participating in the campaign are:

  • Activision Blizzard
  • Amazon Appstore
  • Big Fish Games
  • Dirtybit Games
  • Glu Mobile
  • Jam City
  • Kabam
  • Maysalward
  • Playtika
  • Pocket Gems
  • Riot Games
  • SciPlay
  • Snap Games
  • Twitch
  • Unity
  • Wooga
  • YouTube Gaming
  • Zynga

Follow the hashtag #PlayApartTogether on social media for ongoing updates and details.

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Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto



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