Coronavirus UK: WHO teams with video game companies to promote social distancing

The World Health Organization has signed up video game publishers to run public service announcements for coronavirus.

The last time the WHO (World Health Organization) had anything to do with video games it was to classify video game addiction as an official mental health disorder, a move that continues to be criticised by some due to the lack of research on the subject.

Video game publishers were particularly upset about it, and yet some of them have agreed to team-up with the WHO in order to promote social distancing and other coronavirus preventive measures.

The call has been led by Ray Chambers, WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy, who’s been using the hashtag #PlayApartTogether. That’s a great tagline but he and the WHO haven’t done anything to suggest that video games might be a positive past-time during the current crisis.

The WHO has teamed up with 18 video game publishers to put warnings in their games, advising about physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and other preventive actions.

You may already have seen messages pop up in online games, but the full list of companies involved includes the like of Call Of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard and League Of Legends owners Riot Games.

Activision are the only traditional publisher mentioned though, with no EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft. And there’s no sign of Fortnite publisher Epic Games.

Ever since self-isolation became a thing video games have seen a sharp spike in use, not only as something to do to pass the time but as a means to keep in touch with others online.

The WHO campaign makes no mention of these positive benefits though, which has put up the back of some who still accuse them of misrepresenting the issue of video game addiction.

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