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#PlayApartTogether, a global gaming industry campaign dedicated to encouraging gamers to follow the Word Health Organization (WHO) health advice to prevent COVID-19 by staying at home, has officially hit its one year anniversary. To celebrate, executives who participated in #PlayApartTogether reflect on the past year and recommit to pursuing health and safety.

“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,” said Bernard Kim, Zynga president of publishing. “When we first started conceptualizing 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 part of the campaign, multiple gaming companies agreed to disseminate evidence-based health messages from the WHO to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This included encouraging gamers and industry members to physically distance, mask up, use hand and respiratory hygiene, avoid crowds and keep rooms ventilated. Gaming industry partners include Activision Blizzard, BANDAI NAMCO, Riot Games, Zynga, Ubisoft, Twitch, PUBG Mobile and Drone Racing League, among many others.

“As COVID-19 challenged communities around the world, we were proud to join others in our industry in supporting #PlayApartTogether,” said Daniel Alegre, Activision Blizzard president and CEO. “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. We are honored 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.”

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 for the sake of their own health and that of their families and communities. By incorporating this messaging into games, people everywhere are given the message that regardless of location or choice of game, they can make a difference.

“Drone Racing League is thrilled to support the #PlayApartTogether campaign with the World Health Organization,” said Rachel Jacobson, Drone Racing League president. “We’re inviting aspiring drone pilots everywhere to learn to fly, race with friends and explore new worlds on the DRL SIM, our drone racing video game on Xbox and Steam, safely from home.”

Since the initial launch one year ago, the campaign has been adopted by platforms and organizations across the breadth of the digital entertainment space, including mobile, console and PC gamemakers, hardware, esports and streamers, among others. The hashtag itself has seen global use across countries including the U.S., Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia, the U.K., Japan and Jordan.

“The past year has illustrated just how powerful games are in their ability to bring people together,” said Nick Earl, Glu Mobile president and CEO. “Not only through entertainment, competition and creativity – but also the communities formed and connections forged. On the one -year anniversary of #PlayApartTogether, we are proud to continue supporting our global community of players by sharing important World Health Organization information and resources across Glue games in the fight against COVID-19.”

The WHO has been an international health agency spearheading the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing keeping people informed through equitable access to trusted information. As information on the coronavirus, including diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, becomes available, the WHO continues to provide guidance and public health recommendations to governments, communities and individuals across the globe.

“We are so overwhelmed by the generosity of Sky’s global community,” said Jenova Chen, thatgamecompany co-founder and creative director. “Originally we asked, ‘how could our studio help during the pandemic?’ We couldn’t have predicted the altruistic behaviors in-game would translate to real life action and giving to frontline workers. Our team is so moved by the word-of-mouth and support Sky has inspired during this pandemic.”

“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,” said Kim. “We truly make a difference when we work – and play – together.”

Fans can follow the hashtag #PlayApartTogether across social media platforms for ongoing updates and details on the campaign.

Photo courtesy of Zynga