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Pandemic was not removed from App Store China over COVID-19

Published: 14:13, 17 March 2020
Asmodee Digital
UI showing a selection of professions in Pandemic
Pandemic professions

You probably heard by now that Pandemic was removed from App Store China but most assumed this had to do with the outbreak of COVID-19. It turns out that the virus did bring the game to the attention of Chinese regulators, but was far from the only reason.

As reported by Niko analyst Daniel Ahmad, Pandemic was not licensed to operate in the country to begin with. The unfortunate events surrounding the actual pandemic that rocked the country merely made the regulators take notice and check it thoroughly. 

Apparently, Pandemic's gameplay was deemed too insensitive, what with players infecting other people. Needless to say, the ongoing threat of COVID-19 didn't help dev's case. 

This is not all, as Pandemic also had some issues with in-game maps. Ahmad didn't go into specifics here, so we can't really put our finger on what exactly the map problem was. 

Most players automatically assumed that Pandemic's removal was related to COVID-19, or censorship thereof. However, the Chinese government has been cracking down on any and all games that feature illegal content for some time, so any Coronavirus affiliations are just unfortunate coincidences. 

Come 30 June 2020, all App Store game developers will require license numbers for publishing games, something Android has reportedly completed already. 

You may recall that PUBG Mobile's launch in China required altering the in-game content and renaming it to Game for Peace. It just so happened to be criticised for all of the above, so the dev made changes that removed kills and notion of people dying. Instead, downed players wave and are carried off the "court".

We're not sure this will help Pandemic's developer much, but at least the reason wasn't as malicious as most thought. In the meantime, COVID-19 has become a global threat but it didn't directly cause the removal.

World map in Pandemic video game Pandemic map

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