Technology

WHO and game companies launch #PlayApartTogether to promote physical distancing

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the video game industry have teamed up on #PlayApartTogether, a promotional campaign that encourages healthy physical distancing by bringing special events, exclusives, activities, rewards, and inspiration to some of the most popular games in the world.

Some of the industry’s biggest and most powerful companies — from Activision Blizzard to Zynga — are participating, with billions of users represented

That signals a big mainstream moment for games, which have become even more popular as people are isolated in their homes without the chance to engage in physical entertainment. And it’s also a turnaround for the WHO, which last year branded “gaming disorder” as an illness that can be clinically treated. That move was greeted with dismay by game companies, but prompted a lot of discussion about addiction.

Ray Chambers, United States Ambassador to the WHO, said in a statement that, during the challenging time of the coronavirus, he applauds the “ingenuity of partners from all sectors who are stepping up to assist in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The WHO is enlisting the global gaming industry to reach millions with important messages to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The games sector will launch #PlayApartTogether, an initiative to inform and encourage the vast network of users to follow the WHO’s important health guidelines, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other powerful preventive actions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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