Genshin Impact: but why such a success for this gacha video game?

Game News Genshin Impact: but why such a success for this gacha video game?

Genshin Impact celebrates its two years of existence. Let’s go back to the reasons for the phenomenal success of this Chinese gacha.


  • College benches at E3 2019
  • The recipe that works
  • A game that pays very big

Before it became the essential free-to-play that it is now and we scrutinize the slightest of its updates, Genshin Impact was still only one more RPG project massively compared to the juggernaut The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is now the most ambitious and prolific title from the miHoYo studio, but also the one that cost it the most with an initial budget of 100 million dollars at launch.

College benches at E3 2019

“We told you about it at E3 2019, the miHoYo studio has been working on a certain Genshin Impact for some time now. This is an open-world RPG taking place in Teyvat, a magical universe, but corrupted by dark forces that will obviously have to be eradicated.”: this is the presentation that we made of Genshin Impact in the columns of JV in 2019 when we still only had a few visuals of the environment to put in our mouths. The project was born from the desire of three classmates from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Cai Haoyu, Liu Wei and Luo Yuhao, to create their own game with an anime aesthetic.. The trio first got their hands dirty in student game design competitions, then went on to found miHoYo in 2012, a name inspired by two of their first names, Haoyu and Yuhao, which had an H and a Y when they were written in English.

The young company miHoYo receives an interest-free loan of 100,000 yuan (the equivalent of approximately 14,000 euros) from the Shanghai Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Center, gets to work, and very early shows an overflowing passion for games that include reckless schoolgirls and hordes of zombies; example in support with Honkai Gakuen 2 released in 2014 which signs their first real success. But it is truly their free-to-play Honkai Impact 3rd that will mark a turning point.. The 3D hack-and-slash offers a combat system close to a Bayonetta and a universe more fully developed in a series of manhua (Chinese manga). The success is global, so much so that a sequel entitled Honkai Star Rail is under development. Now with a hundred employees, the company then presents an even more ambitious title, Genshin Impact, at E3 2019 in front of players and journalists who do not fail to compare it to a certain Breath of the Wild.

The recipe that works

Genshin retains the strong ingredients of previous miHoYo productions, namely an “anime” artistic direction and a Free to Play economic model ; the studio puts double bites in parallel by offering the services of the philharmonic orchestras of London and Shanghai and by offering dubbing in English as well as subtitles in several European languages. The game also draws its success from other factors: its cross-play and its cross-save. Also, the gacha system put in place by MiHoyo never really encourages purchases., the game’s business model simply consists of making players pay for wishes that unlock 4 or 5 star characters, or weapons of the same quality in order to grow its roster. The game is completely free to enjoy.

Very (very!) generous in content, with sublime graphics and incredible staging, MiHoyo’s RPG-gacha has overcome our preconceptions to become a game of rare quality, whatever the platform on which you are evolving. Complete, and endowed with an exciting universe provided you are not totally allergic to the “kawaïesque” atmosphere, Genshin Impact has not finished surprising us, in fact justifying a higher score than originally – Conclusion of the JV test.

MiHoyo’s strength is also constant and committed communication with the gaming community, which is massively present on social networks.. Very regular updates and events punctuate the weeks of fans always eager for new content. Of course the game is not exempt from its small batch of controversies: censored outfits for the Middle Kingdom, a censorship filter for anything that threatens the national integrity of China globally or even more dramatically: an assassination attempt on the founders of MiHoYo following the censorship of playmate costumes in Honkai Impact 3rd.

A game that pays very big

It is estimated that Genshin Impact will soon become the most expensive game ever developed with an estimated total of $500 million by its second anniversary; A calculation by Reddit user u/KeiraFaith based on an initial budget of $100 million and a tracking $400 million annual cost. New characters, events, new regions: all this beautiful content that makes players happy costs an arm and a leg. Then it is also necessary to include in the lot the maintenance of the servers. However miHoYo is not to be pitied: its gross annual income is estimated at more than 3 billion dollars, enough to largely cover the development costs. Genshin Impact is a true model of success as a service game as people are still investing in it continuously. The Chinese market, which is very fond of mobile games, is one of the strengths of Genshin Impact: it represents 970.3 million dollars, or almost a third of the game’s turnover.. Behind it are Japan (23.7%) and the United States (19.7%) which complete the podium according to figures from SensorTower reported in May 2022. That being said, the game also constitutes one of the most major Chinese successes in the Western market.

This year miHoYo is following a logical path to expand the success and lore of its license: the studio has announced a long-term collaboration with ufotable studio (Demon Slayer: The Infinity Train) for an animation project around their flagship video game. We find the Traveler, the character who acts as the protagonist, but also Paimon, the little fairy who accompanies the player.

Our Genshin Impact guides