Ebola Scare Leads to Spike in Downloads for Virus-Focused Game, Plague Inc.

"This is the first time something in the real world has had an effect on the sales charts," creator claims.

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Mobile game Plague Inc.--which tasks you with creating a virus that infects the world--has been out for more than two years, but recently, the free game has seen a significant spike in downloads. According to its creator, downloads are rising fast--to the tune of a 50 percent increase in the last two weeks--due to the world's interest in the deadly virus Ebola.

"This is the first time something in the real world has has an effect on the sales charts, especially since Ebola came over to America," Plague Inc. creator James Vaughan, who heads up one-man studio Ndemic Creations, told Polygon, following an initial report from The Daily Mail.

"People are curious about it and want to know more about infectious diseases. Plague Inc. can play a role because it's an intelligent look at how infectious diseases can spread."

"I want to help in any way I can, whether that is raising funds or raising awareness" -- James Vaughan

Vaughan went on to say that he's hopeful that he can use the heightened interest in Plague Inc. to help charities supporting those affected by Ebola.

"I want to help in any way I can, whether that is raising funds or raising awareness," Vaughan said, mentioning that the game has an audience of 35 million people. "I'm currently talking to major charities to see if Plague Inc. can be used as a tool to help in some way."

Vaughan went on to say that he has no plans to alter Plague Inc. in any way in response to the increased interest in Ebola. "I don't want to appear to be trivializing it by taking the outbreak and making [Ebola] into a game," he said.

Finally, Vaughan said Plague Inc. can serve as a teaching tool of sorts, helping people understand how infectious diseases work and how they are spread.

"In our multi-connected world, a disease in one country is a threat to everybody," he said.

In addition to the free versions of Plague Inc. that are available today for iOS and Android, Plague Inc.: Evolved is available through Steam Early Access for $15.

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