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Games developers join fight against coronavirus

Sector firms will deliver health messaging to UK citizens though popular games under a partnership with the government

The gaming sector is joining the fight against coronavirus in the UK in a partnership with the government aimed at helping slow the spread of the disease.

The initiative, led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will see companies use geotargeting technology to display the “Stay at home, save lives” messaging in popular games.

The government sees in-game messaging as a creative, targeted and immediate way to reinforce its “Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives” message to young people.

Culture minister Oliver Dowden said: “I am delighted to see the UK’s brilliant video games industry stepping up to strongly reinforce this message to gamers across the UK.”

Activision Blizzard King is displaying the health messaging in its network of mobile games, which includes Candy Crush Saga. Blizzard has also donated more than 230 “digital poster” advertising spaces in London, where it would normally advertise its own products, to be used for public health messaging.

Meanwhile, Codemasters is delivering the “Stay at home” messaging on DiRT Rally 2.0. Toby Evan-Jones, vice-president business development at Codemasters, said: “We came to realise that technology within our games, which enables the remote updating of banners within the virtual environment, could be repurposed to assist with the coronavirus communication effort.”

Rebellion will also serve up the health messaging on its games landing page launch sites, will link messages to relevant Gov.uk pages where appropriate, and has also offered advertising in its comic books. 

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