Genshin Impact had a rocky birth into the world. When it was exhibited at China Joy in 2019, the derision towards the game and its similarities to Breath of the Wild was so severe it led to a fan smashing a PS4 at the game’s booth in protest. But since launch, Genshin Impact has grown to become a massive hit. Recent reports from SensorTower indicate the game has now passed $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) in revenue across the App Store and Google Play, a feat which took less than six months.
That’s faster than Pokémon GO, a game with vastly more mainstream attention.
Player spending on Genshin Impact has reportedly held steady at a rate of around $US160 million ($209.7 million) per month since December 2020, when player awareness grew. SensorTower reports March is on track to be the best month yet, with $US148 million ($193 million) already being spent in-game.
In the last 30 days, the game has ranked as the third highest title for revenue generation on the App Store and Google Play, just behind PUBG Mobile and Honor of Kings (both Tencent titles).
But despite the massive amounts of revenue being drawn in by the game, Genshin Impact‘s microtransactions don’t feel predatory. You can get by perfectly well just wandering the game’s massive world, collecting ingredients and fighting enemies. Where you’ll need to spend money is in the game’s waifu/husbando gacha system.
It’s an ingenious feature, really. The internet loves cute anime characters, and paywalling them is an excellent option to keep players spending money. In order to unlock the best (and cutest) characters, players must pay for primogens and genesis crystals which unlock rare Fate loot boxes. Every few months, new character-themed boxes are added, giving players the chance to gain a new companion.
According to SensorTower, the introduction of regal soldier Zhongli saw a daily revenue increase of $US15.5 million ($19.6 million) for the game. Other characters Ganyu, Xiao and Hu Tao all helped encourage a daily rise of at least $US10 million ($13.1 million).
Beyond this gacha system, the real success of Genshin Impact lies in the fact that it’s a genuinely fun, gorgeous adventure with plenty to do along the way. While players continue to spend on the game to unlock unique characters, the action, story and heart of the title is just as enticing.
Genshin Impact operates on an incredibly clever model. If you don’t want to spend money, you don’t have to. But the financial success of the game proves there’s enough appetite out there for gacha-fuelled games. As long as new characters keep dropping, the success of Genshin Impact is likely to continue.
There’s no signs the enthusiasm for the game will slow down any time soon.