UK Game Companies Fight Coronavirus with “Stay at Home” In-Game Messages
Stay at Home, Save Lives.
The coronavirus pandemic has been causing a whole range of issues across the world which has seen governments enforcing lockdowns as a way to slow the spread of the virus. However, despite these official orders, some residents in the UK seem to be failing to adhere to the government and continue to meet friends and family for a spot of sunbathing and a picnic. In an attempt to encourage more people to stay home, messages are being injected directly into video games as part of the government’s “Stay at Home, Save Lives” campaign.
In the UK, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with a number of video game companies, using their games to feature the campaigns, “Stay at Home, Save Lives” message. These messages are being implemented either directly within the game or through messages on the loading screens for some games.
Candy Crush Saga from King Activision Blizzard now displays the “Stay at Home” message along with its other mobile games. King and Activision Blizzard are also donating more than 230 ‘digital poster’ advertising spaces in London that will be used for public health messaging regarding coronavirus. These spaces would have otherwise be used to advertise their own products.
Everyone at Activision Blizzard, and the King team I lead, are delighted that we’re able to play a small part and help with the delivery of vital public health information. Through our millions of players we’re able to assist Public Health England and the NHS spread their life saving message: stay at home, protect our NHS, and save lives. — Humam Sakhnini, President of King
Codemasters’ DiRT Rally 2.0 is also displaying the “Stay at Home” message through posters in-game. Codemasters is also looking to roll out more health messages in games across Europe and the U.S. “This week, through collaboration with Bidstack Group PLC (providers of the ad-replacement infrastructure), we began delivering a version of Public Health England’s ‘Stay Home Save Lives’ message into DiRT Rally 2.0. ” said Toby Evan-Jones, VP Business Development at Codemasters.
— DCMS (@DCMS) April 6, 2020
Another company taking part in the spreading of the message is Rebellion, which is inserting the campaign message on the landing screens for the games. These screens are also to link to the relevant Gov.uk pages where appropriate. Rebellion will also be including the campaign advertisements in the comic books that the company publishes.
We know how fundamentally beneficial video games, like Sniper Elite and Strange Brigade, and comics, like 2000 AD, have been and will continue to be for many of us during this extraordinary time. It makes total sense for us to help promote important public health messaging while keeping those fans entertained in the safety of their homes. — Jason Kingsley OBE, Co-founder and CEO of Rebellion
— Codemasters (@Codemasters) April 2, 2020
Geotargeting technology will be how gamers are targeted, and from the sounds of it, some of these companies, Codemasters specifically, want to spread the message further than the UK. The question is, will the population notice the messages and actually take part in the simple task of staying home if they’re not essential workers? Yesterday we reported that, in the US, a GameStop store violated coronavirus lockdown orders.
According to recent statistics, 1,348,628 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide. Also worldwide, 74,816 people have died from the virus, however, 284,802 people have recovered. The push to encourage people to stay home is to not only reduce the spread of the virus but also reduce the pressure on health services.