Genshin Impact launched as a free-to-play title on PS4, PC, iOS and Android on September 28. In the first four days since its launch, it hit 17 million mobile downloads across the global market. It’s also become the top grossing mobile title in Asia and the United States, and set a record for for the biggest worldwide launch of a Chinese game ever. None of these statistics include the game’s popularity on PC and PlayStation 4.
According to data analysts at Niko Partners, this popularity has meant Genshin Impact has earned an estimated $US50 million ($70.4 million) from its gachapon (microtransaction) gameplay system since it launched. While these numbers are currently unverified, it bodes well for the unique gameplay model of the game, particularly in Western markets.
“The game had more than 20 million pre-registrations prior to launch, of which more than 5 million were from outside China,” Daniel Ahmad, Senior Analyst at Niko Partners, told IGN. “This is a huge achievement not just for a Chinese developed game, but for a new original IP too.”
Genshin Impact, which has often been compared to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild due to its visual similarities, is a free-to-play game with a heavy reliance on microtransactions. While it avoids the pitfalls of pay-to-win games (you can travel through the game's entire story without spending a cent), it does lock some cosmetics, new heroes and equipment behind a paywall for players who want to unlock everything the game has to offer.
Despite the usual reluctance behind microtransaction-based systems, Genshin Impact has received rave reviews from critics with many praising its cooking mechanics, adventuring and gorgeous landscapes. At its heart, it looks and feels like a AAA game — one that's pushing the argument for microtransactions forward. If AAA titles can be accessible for everyone at the price of microtransactions for some players, there's a worthy argument to be made about their acceptance.
Its booming popularity is a sign gamers are becoming more accepting of microtransactions in games, but whether it can change the perception of gacha games remains to be seen. As interest in the game continues, expect the conversation around in-game microtransactions to change.
How to download Genshin Impact
If you're looking to get stuck into Genshin Impact, you can download the game for free on a variety of platforms. Here's how:
- PlayStation 4: Search for 'Genshin Impact' on the PS Store and download the game
- PC: Visit the Genshin Impact website and download the installer client (it's not currently available on Steam or other third-party platforms)
- iOS: Grab the game through the Apple App Store
- Android: Grab the game via the Google Play Store
Genshin Impact will also be available on Nintendo Switch at a later date.
For those getting stuck in to the game, be aware it does have a hearty microtransaction system. If you have a tendency towards gambling, approach it with caution and spend your money responsibility.