Genshin Impact is free to play, still projected to rake in $2 billion per year

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,498   +1,042
Staff member
Bottom line: Like them or hate them, free-to-play games with microtransactions are big money makers. Genshin Impact is one that is making copious amounts of money. The game has only been out for less than two years and has already made Chinese developer miHoYo more than $3 billion, and its popularity is continuing to grow.

According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, Genshin Impact dwarfed its competition by raking in $567 million in Q1 2022 alone, with an active user count that grew by 44 percent year over year. It made its first billion within six months from launch. For comparison, it took Pokémon Go nine months to make $1 billion.

While the revenue stream has slowed somewhat since launch, continued popularity has analysts forecasting Genshin Impact to average $2 billion per year for the foreseeable future. To put that in perspective, if Microsoft could recoup that much money from its $7.5 billion Bethesda purchase, it would see a positive ROI in less than four years.

The game is practically viral in China, with nearly one-third of its earnings ($973.3 million) on iOS coming from Chinese players. But Genshin Impact's appeal has been spreading worldwide as the game ages, thanks to frequent expansions and content additions.

Indeed, my daughter's latest obsession — and that of many of her friends — is Genshin Impact, and I can see the draw. While some have described it as a Breath of the Wild clone, it looks more like a gorgeous interactive anime in my limited time with the game. Either way, it's becoming very popular with 12- to 15-year-olds in the West.

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m4a4

Posts: 2,894   +3,704
TechSpot Elite
I'm not surprised. For a singleplayer/co-op f2p game, it is the least "greedy" one that I've come across. Decent action mechanics, plenty of content (with monthly events), no PvP (means not pay2win), good fast traveling, and is pretty fun.
It also has a lot of good parts from MMO's like daily/weekly incentives, forging (without ludicrous wait times), resource gathering, boss fights, land/house to customize, etc. And also some not-so-good parts, like random stats on items, and grinding certain items.

Which, all makes up for the gacha system (gambling for specific characters/weapons). And that system is not as bad as I've seen in other games (guarantees you'll get what you want after x amount of draws).
And then the free things aren't horrible compared to the premium stuff (so you don't feel bad about not getting something). Especially since they throw plenty of premium currency at players, which lets you save up and draw for the premium stuff anyways.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 603   +502
This is where I feel big game studios/ publishers should learn. Most of them want to sell you an expensive game with the extra burden of microtransactions to give you an advantage over players that don't want to pay. In a free game like this, I can't really complain much because I know the developers will need to make money somehow. But in a full price game, that's a bad value proposition, and spoils the fun. My preference is still to pay a one time price and enjoy the game, rather than having microtransactions.
 

Goamist

Posts: 51   +87
1 year after giving up on epic 7 I still feel the withdrawal effects... I know I am not the strongest-willed person out there, but man this kind of games is addictive. And expensive, via peer-pressure
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,420   +5,160
I think it's a silly game but people seem to like it well enough. If they can make money, not be predatory and keep players happy then I'm alright with that.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,364   +5,591
I'm not surprised. For a singleplayer/co-op f2p game, it is the least "greedy" one that I've come across. Decent action mechanics, plenty of content (with monthly events), no PvP (means not pay2win), good fast traveling, and is pretty fun.
It also has a lot of good parts from MMO's like daily/weekly incentives, forging (without ludicrous wait times), resource gathering, boss fights, land/house to customize, etc. And also some not-so-good parts, like random stats on items, and grinding certain items.

Which, all makes up for the gacha system (gambling for specific characters/weapons). And that system is not as bad as I've seen in other games (guarantees you'll get what you want after x amount of draws).
And then the free things aren't horrible compared to the premium stuff (so you don't feel bad about not getting something). Especially since they throw plenty of premium currency at players, which lets you save up and draw for the premium stuff anyways.
The key element here is that free players still get a good experience. So many games now treat free or even paying players as second rate unless they buy all the microtransactions.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,047   +775
Had a look at some video of it seems CGDCT- think I saw furry as well - So a Chinese company using Japanese anime like characters - see that being popular with the teens
 

MaitieS

Posts: 151   +170
The key element here is that free players still get a good experience. So many games now treat free or even paying players as second rate unless they buy all the microtransactions.
Even free tier in battle pass is very good. I saw a few BP in other games and most of the time 70% of free tiers are empty and only 30% of gives a reward meanwhile in GI every level gives you something. Sure free tier is much worse but every 5 levels you will get resin (which is nice) and every 10 levels a free pull (which is also very nice for a F2P). I just wish they would make some adjustment to it cuz since release it's almost the same.
 

stewi0001

Posts: 2,751   +2,496
I never tried Genshin Impact. I had the bitter taste of the Seven Deadly Sins gatcha game when Genshin Impact came out.

Probably for the best since I don't need another addiction.
 

Aceseven

Posts: 315   +398
Funny how gamers wont pay a lump sum to own a game outright but will gladly toss who knows how much cash at game cause its "free". 60 smackers to own? oh no, nonono. 60 small transaction of 2or3 smackers though? perfect apparently, *****s.

I guess the maybe a dollar here, 5 dollars there...maybe another 2 dollars today mentality really hides how easy that racks up in the end. I dont agree with f2p games, they feel sketchy AF no matter how they look, its annoying and honestly infuriating to play a game thats begging for money, like damn just let me buy it outright...but I cant because they see the majority disagrees with that bright idea.

but thanks again gamers for propping something terrible up again(that was sarcasm btw, since people no longer recognize it)
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,550   +4,518
TechSpot Elite
This is what happens when you don't royally shaft the f2p part of the game. People will naturally buy things when they can.

Just remember to be resposible with your wallet.
 

Loli Pop Carbon

Posts: 42   +40
I never tried Genshin Impact. I had the bitter taste of the Seven Deadly Sins gatcha game when Genshin Impact came out.

Probably for the best since I don't need another addiction.

Genshin Impact is my first and last gacha game. I'm not into gacha game since all of them have very good character splash art, but the actual playable character you get in game is chibi (deformed), pixel, or just 2d small characters while only GI that gives player the character 3d full model.

The game is extremely good and addicting at first, but for a day-1 player like me, this game is losing replayable contents outside limited time event as almost every grinding is locked behind a time-gate mechanics. Also, the RNG is atrocious, p2w and whaling can't even save you from the RNG-ception. Imagine character building but it 99% relies on luck.

Not only teenagers, me and my friends are in late 20s and early 30s, and still enjoy this game a lot.