Games industry and WHO renew #PlayApartTogether commitment

The global games industry who participated in #PlayApartTogether have committed to reactivate the initiative launched one year ago, which encourages gamers everywhere to follow World Health Organization advice on COVID-19 prevention.

By bringing special events, exclusives, activities, rewards and inspiration to some of the most popular games in the world, #PlayApartTogether encourages users to adopt best practices of protection from COVID-19 transmission for the sake of their own health and that of their families and communities.

“It’s overwhelming to reflect upon the last year; the tragedy and loss that has affected so many families, but also the inspiring strength, resilience and perseverance of so many,” noted Bernard Kim, president of publishing, Zynga.

“When we first started conceptualising the #PlayApartTogether initiative, we couldn’t have dreamed that it would be so embraced by the global gaming community, with an enthusiasm and commitment that truly made an impact.

“As a return to more normal life is beginning to be within our sights, we are devoted to continuing to use this platform to bring vital information and a supportive community to players. We truly make a difference when we work – and play – together.”

As part of the initiative, a large number of gaming companies agreed to disseminate evidence-based health messages from the WHO to help slow the spread of COVID-19

To promote these messages, hundreds of game industry leaders in the interactive entertainment space have encouraged their networks to follow the health guidelines, including on physical distancing, masks, hand and respiratory hygiene, avoiding crowds and how to keep rooms well ventilated.

“Over the past year, our top priority has been to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees while continuing to deliver exceptional experiences for our players,” noted Jason Willig, managing director and co-president of Big Fish Games.

“Through the challenges we have all faced, Big Fish Games has strived to provide some fun, a degree of escapism and strengthened connections through our player community. 

“#PlayApartTogether has been at the core of creating new releases, and a positive and safe space for our players. We are proud to have participated in this initiative and are humbled to be in a position to make a difference in life through the power of play.”

Since the initial kick-off of the campaign, #PlayApartTogether has been adopted by platforms and organisations across the breadth of the digital entertainment space, including mobile, console and PC game makers, hardware, platforms, esports, streamers, universities, non-profits and consumer advocacy groups. 

The hashtag has been seen by gamers around the world, during the pandemic, in countries including Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, the Netherlands, Russia, UK and the USA.

“As COVID-19 challenged communities around the world, we were proud to join others in our industry in supporting #PlayApartTogether. Our games have a unique ability to reach hundreds of millions of people, and through the campaign we helped spread vital information, while delivering safe entertainment and joy during an extremely difficult year,” added Daniel Alegre, president and chief operating officer of Activision Blizzard.

“We are honoured that veteran players and newcomers alike turned to our franchises including Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft to find much-needed social engagement and fun. And we look forward to continuing to welcome these players back even after the pandemic subsides.”