According to industry experts and analysts, the newly released Genshin Impact is the biggest international launch of a Chinese game.
The free-to-play adventure game, which launched on Sept. 28, reportedly grossed more than TikTok and garnered more views than Fortnite on Twitch the day of its release. An article in South China Morning Post states that, “hours after launch, the game had more than 110,000 concurrent viewers on live-streaming platform Twitch, making it more popular than Epic Games’ battle royale hit Fortnite for the day.” As of the writing of this article, it currently has an average of 60,000 viewers on Twitch. It’s amassing more viewers than Dota 2 and Valorant, and placing right below games like World of Warcraft, Phasmophobia, and Grand Theft Auto V.
Much of this success can be attributed to developer miHoYo pushing the cost-ineffective game to launch across multiple platforms. It is a free-to-play game that has been released on mobile devices, PC, and PlayStation 4. While it received plenty of attention for its visuals, which are reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, its soundtrack (which is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra), writing, and gameplay have proven compelling enough to entice people to keep playing.
In Genshin Impact, you traverse the magical and lively world of Teyvat. After coming from another dimension and being separated from your sibling by an unknown god, you are put into a deep slumber. Now, you awaken to a much different world where you must attain answers from The Seven — the gods of each element (Electro, Anemo, Pyro, Dendro, Cryo, Hydro, and Geo) in Teyvat.
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Across your journey, you’ll assemble a party of multiple diverse characters. While they’re largely founded on well-known anime archetypes, they’re endearing enough to motivate players to engage with Genshin Impact’s gacha elements — which is the main way games like this one make a profit.
Gacha games implement the capsule-toy vending machine mechanic that encourages players to spend in-game currency to receive virtual items. They’re similar to loot boxes in how they motivate the player to spend real-world money to get desired items. They can still be, and are often, enjoyable even if you never spend money on them. But you have to put in plenty of time and energy if you want to obtain the items, skills, character cards, and whatnot that some other players will simply spend much money to easily get. Some popular gacha or gacha-like games are Granblue Fantasy, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, and Fire Emblem Heroes.
While the gacha game system is a contentious one due to its similarities to loot boxes, it’s becoming increasingly appealing due to the success of technically free games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Dota 2 in the west. As we head into the next generation and games on the PlayStation 5 will see a $10 increase in price from the last generation, it’s likely this system will continue to appeal to millions of players around the world.
According to the app tracking firm Qimai Data, “Genshin Impact is already the second top-grossing app on Apple’s App Store in China.” South China Morning Post reports that the game has already amassed more than $1.84 million on iOS according to Qimai’s estimates. In China, approximately 16 million people preregistered on the game’s official website. Outside of China, the number of preregistrations was almost 5.3 million. In just a short amount of time, Genshin Impact has had an overwhelming impact (I couldn’t resist), so don’t be too surprised if it shows up on many industry folks’ Game Of The Year lists.
The following Genshin Impact clip has little to do with this news post. But it took me out, so I wanted to share it. It’s very good. Sorry to Timmie.
— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) October 2, 2020
Genshin Impact is now available on mobile devices, PlayStation 4 and PC.