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Viral entertainment creeps up US charts thanks to COVID-19 headlines

Despite being nearly ten years old, Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion has just rocketed into iTunes’ top 10 list. And pandemic-based game Plague Inc is still sitting pretty at number one in Apple’s paid-for game chart.

Contagion is a perfectly okay film. It maps the course of a virus that sweeps across the world alongside the corresponding panic and confusion that tags along with it. Despite it’s considerably ‘meh’ plotline, US viewers have turned to the film as global headlines are dominated by the Coronavirus.

Related: No Time to Die is delayed by coronavirus

The film is currently number eight in most-downloaded films today on iTunes – and it’s the second most-watched Warner Bros film for all of 2020.

This isn’t the only virus-based entertainment to receive a boost after the outbreak of COVID-19. Plague Inc has also dominated Apple’s charts for the past few weeks, currently taking top spot in most downloaded, paid-for games.

In Plague Inc, you play as a newly formed virus, trying to spread yourself across the continents by developing different form factors (animal carrier types, messy symptoms, drug resistance, etc.) To win, rather grimly, you have to wipe out the entire global population.

The game was proving very popular in China recently, until it was  pulled from the Chinese app store. According to developers Ndemic Creations, this was down to China citing “illegal content” in the game. Issuing a statement for its fans based in China, Ndemic said:

“It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing. However, Plague Inc.’s educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19.”

Related: How to stop Google using your location data for its Covid-19 behaviour tracking reports

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