Genshin Impact is a Gacha masterpiece

March 31, 2022 — by George Huang
Genshin Impact has over 100 million downloads on mobile as of January 2022
Genshin Impact is one of the most successful role-playing games to come out recently because of its quality

After Chinese video game developer Mihoyo, now known as Hoyoverse, released Genshin Impact on Sept. 19, 2020, the role-playing game (RPG) made an estimated $1.9 billion in revenue on the app alone. During the 2021 Game Awards, the game beat other massive brands like League of Legends and Pokemon for “Mobile Game of the Year.” 

The premise of Genshin is genius: a free, high-quality and open world game that comes with not only an immersive story but also appealing characters. 

In Genshin Impact, players control a party of four characters and can either choose to complete quests or explore the virtual world for hidden secrets. Characters can climb walls and cliffs, swim through rivers, glide from mountains and travel freely across the map, finding exciting new enemies along the way. The freedom of action and movement, combined with stunning graphics and beautiful soundtracks, makes the game both additive and multi-dimensional. 

While Genshin seems like a free game at first glance, it emerges to be one of the most profitable in history. One major reason is how characters are unlocked. As of this spring, there are 49 different playable characters, with the number increasing with each update. Each character has a unique personality, voice, design and playstyle, appealing to a wide range of players. The characters are unlocked through “wishes,” which highlights Genshin’s true nature — a gacha game. 

Gacha is much like gambling. Players either spend time or money to wish for a desired character; however, whether they get it or not comes down to pure luck. The most popular characters in Genshin are 5-star characters, and each has a 0.7% drop rate, meaning a 5-star character will receive a 5 star in only 1 in 150 pulls, and it isn’t even guaranteed the 5 star is the one the player wants. 

Unless the player gets extremely lucky, it is highly unlikely for a player to receive the character they want without spending money. Hoyoverse recognized this and implemented a pity system that guarantees one 5-star character every 90 wishes and the correct character the player wants every 180 wishes, which translates to over $400 USD. 

While many question why video game players would spend so much money on new skin or character, people who don’t play simply don’t understand. To an addicted player, a few bucks or even a few hundred are worth it for the happiness they receive in return. While Genshin Impact has made billions, they have also in turn brought happiness to millions, which in my opinion is a fair trade.

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