Just last year, the World Health Organization classified gaming as a “disorder”. It was the latest twist in an uneasy back and forth between the gaming industry and the largest face of public health in the world, highlighted with barbs back and forth about whether games were to blame for outbreaks of violence and mass shootings in America.
Today, several WHO members condoned gaming as an effective way to combat the outbreak of the coronavirus. Among them: The United States Ambassador to the WHO, Ray Chambers:
We’re at a crucial moment in defining outcomes of this pandemic. Games industry companies have a global audience – we encourage all to #PlayApartTogether. More physical distancing + other measures will help to flatten the curve + save lives. https://t.co/QhX0ssN0lH
— Ray Chambers (@RaymondChambers) March 28, 2020
The Director-General of the WHO acknowledged, endorsed, and encouraged the above advice:
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 28, 2020
The about face comes as the gaming industry today launched #PlayApartTogether, a new initiative encouraging those staying home around the world to play video games while waiting out the evolving pandemic. Participants in the campaign include Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, and Twitch.
If you’d like to read more about the campaign, you can do so here – hopefully, while you’re safe at home.