Popular video games are getting 'stay home' coronavirus banners

The United Kingdom has turned to some of the most popular video games on the market to encourage the public to stay home. The new effort involves banners the companies have agreed to put in their games, ones that read, "Stay At Home, Save Lives." The initiative comes from the UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is working with game companies.

The UK announced its new initiative on Monday, explaining that it is working with video game companies to deploy 'essential health messaging' directly to the players. This is an effort to get the attention of the large number of people who have turned to video games as entertainment during quarantine; the effort targets both mobile and console games.

Governments around the world are encouraging their residents to 'stay at home.' This social distancing effort aims to flatten the curve, which means spreading out coronavirus cases over a wider period of time in order to avoid a rapid, dramatic, and incredibly destructive peak. The new 'Save Lives' message has been deployed in DiRT Rally 2.0, Candy Crush Saga, Farm Heroes, and Sniper Elite 4 to reinforce this point.

In a statement, the UK's Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

It is absolutely vital that we all follow the simple government advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. I'm 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 has agreed to add this banner to its various mobile games, the most popular of which is Candy Crush Saga, according to government officials. DiRT Rally 2.o added the banners in February in the UK, and it will soon add them for players in the US and elsewhere in Europe, too. These games collectively boast tens of millions of players.