Genshin Impact’s international launch is making a big splash outside China

    
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Genshin Impact’s international launch is making a big splash outside China

The release of Genshin Impact on PS4, mobile, and PC has not only caught many by surprise but has also captured a lot of attention. According to analysts at Beijing’s Qimai Data, the new multiplayer RPG has raked in an estimated $1.84 million USD on iOS alone, and landed more Twitch views on its launch day than Fortnite. According to TwitchTracker.com, Genshin peaked at 214,000 concurrent viewers on September 29th, while Fortnite peaked at only 150,000 that same day, though both were bested by several other titles, including League of Legends. (It’s certainly a trending title on Twitch, but it’s barely breaking into the top 10 several days later.)

Multiple publications have proclaimed it the single biggest international release for a Chinese-developed video game, quoting Kantan Games Inc.’s Serkan Toto, who pointed to the staggering number of pre-registrations (over 10M, according to developer miHoYo) the game had outside China. It may be exaggeration, but it’s certainly hard to think of many truly Chinese-grown titles that have made a bigger international impact in recent years.

The success of Genshin Impact is being attributed to the growing technical and marketing prowess of China gamedev, while miHoYo’s push to launch the title in multiple regions around the globe and on multiple platforms illustrates the ambition of Chinese game companies to expand into a wider market.

The game’s release hasn’t been without its share of controversy, however. Genshin Impact and Rise of Kingdoms were both pulled the Huawei and Xiaomi app stores in protest of each storefront’s 50% platform tax, while the developers of Genshin have had to close up kernel-level access opened by the game’s anti-cheat program. Still, though, it appears that this one is catching a lot of hearts and minds (as well as dollars).

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Japheth

If they can patch game performance I will say the game is one of the better releases lately. I can’t play for long stretches just because of how poorly it runs.. Gives me a headache.

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traja

Seems interesting but unfortunately the mouse controls are absolute trash. For some ungodly reason they thought that it would be a great idea to force an incredibly low vertical sensitivity compared to the horizontal sensitivity. Looking up or down is awful in this game.

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Sorenthaz

The game does a good job of putting on a presentation and feel like it’s not a mobile game, even though it is at the end of the day. It’s very Breath of the Wild-esque but without a lot of the annoying aspects of BotW (i.e. weapons breaking left and right).

Will be interesting to see how it goes, but I get the feeling the monetization aspects will be pushed harder over time since something this high quality can’t survive if it isn’t drawing in a lot of whales.

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Malcolm Swoboda

A good/bad thing about the monetization is that at least half of it is about the collecting of dolls/action figures/characters/units. And if you’re okay with not getting them all, in the best form, as soon as possible, then that’s half the monetization that’s irrelevant to your enjoyment.

Other things? Like they sell necessary power boosts to handle core story content somehow? Possible, unlikely, but if they do it, the game goes junk.

Yangers
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Yangers

Seems they are making the gatcha / monetization more generous, not less.

Most of these changes are in direct response to player feedback as well.

Bereman
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Bereman

The current chatter is that the 1.1 “leaks” are fakes that originated as rumors in China (and were apparently debunked there) but made their way via translation to the English speaking side without that context.

Basically, take with a grain of salt unless it’s from an official source.

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agemyth 😩

Its better than all my expectations, but it is also running out of steam for me. I’m probably about 10 hours in and there’s just not anything interesting in the combat design beyond playing with elemental interactions which are underwhelming. Exploration is fun for a while but the treasures are just one of many currencies or items you feed into other items or characters for XP.

The BotW style climing is mechanically well done but so far the designers don’t seem to understand how to build the world to make it more interesting. The dungeon or “shrine” areas are boring. It isn’t very challenging if you are in the level range for the content you are doing.

I wish they just released it as an offline single-player game for $40. This has no business being a “service” game, requiring an internet connection, or having aggressive kernel-level anti-cheat. The invasive anti-cheat is still in the game but no longer runs when the game is closed. Make sure you close the game client in your Windows task bar after you close the game though. For some reason they think it is okay to leave the launcher process running and don’t tell you. They at least aren’t being super pushy about making you gamble for characters and stuff.

This is a classic B-tier game that I can see a lot of people falling in love with despite its flaws, but unfortunately this just bums me out with all the potential I see in it. I would be better off replaying BotW.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Unlike an actual ‘open world do anything everywhere’, there’s still going to be tiers to this game’s experience. They really just released the tutorial and beginner zone, more or less. If its several months in the future and things stay the same in releases, then that’s important, but I don’t expect Mondstadt to be particularly challenging. I mean there’s the later game parts of it (world bosses, dungeons) but just talking about the story leveling experience. My hope is that later updates add further upper (and maybe lower) level content to fill things out – as I expect cities like Mondstadt to get many more NPCs and many of them will be gacha characters. This is a shell of a world trying hard to pretend its not yet, as usual with games like this until a year or two in.

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laelgon

I’ve been enjoying it. Seems like plenty of game on offer without spending any money. Anime isn’t my thing, and I find the attempt to make all the characters “sexy” almost charming in its immaturity, so I don’t feel whatever that itch is to collect them all. Collecting all the things for the sake of collecting has never been compelling to me.

I appreciated that everytime I open it, there isn’t an onslaught of cash shop popups like most F2P mobile games and MMOs. If it gets to the point of being too grindy, I’ll just put it down. $0 and some hard drive space are a pretty low cost of entry, hard to be mad about it.

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Michael Fuchs

This game is fantastic. It doesn’t feel like playing a gacha game to me, and it doesn’t seem to aggressively seek your dollars like so many other horrible F2P games. I can’t wait to see what they do in the future with it.

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Malcolm Swoboda

It will get more aggressive. They’ll put in more challenges that ‘suggest’ certain types of characters, then certain characters, then certain characters that happen to be the current limited run banner that you can’t use general tickets on. This happens every time, without fail, even on my favorite titles that are relatively super hands off. The power creep happens and that creep involves the gacha. They may also increasingly introduce then promote cosmetics that are cash-only, and you wouldn’t be able to use the earnable premium currency on them either.

But typically gacha games let you enjoy the whole story content (no promises for hard modes, and definitely not for ‘endgame’) comfortably. Sometimes in their rush for players to catch up, its way too comfortable. I hope systems like World Levels in Genshin respond to that weakness.

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Syran

I can only speak to Dragalia Lost and Granblue Fantasy, but those two are easily playable without spending money, including endgame. A lot of free pull events and a constant stream of currency if you play regularly. The only difficulty is fighting the urge to go after a single specific character, since that can get expensive fast.

I definitely hope Genshin will be more like those two and less like the scenario you are describing.

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Malcolm Swoboda

DL has had several long periods where endgame, while ‘playable’, is discouraging of using most units at the top end. Only things like the 2.0 arriving is doing the tuning to all characters to make the balance much more flat.

Granblue makes everything fine through a system of sheer Grindblue. Sure you’ll be fine, but at what cost :O.

True that ultimately the catch is to not get overwhelmed by desires to:
-get a single specific character
-get all characters… ever really
-get most characters asap, even just the ones relevant for whatever story chapters are out or whatever

Enjoy the dolls you have for now, and embrace the new ones you get, and its… fine? Not ideal, especially if characters lock out some story, but fine. Do Genshin characters all have their own cool quests? I’m unsure, but if they do, that’s something to consider.

Ultimately after years, gachas resort to usually one of two leaning approaches: super mega powercreep (would be tragic here), or waifu/husbando/awesomeo appeal (could work here unless every new character is a near naked woman). I hope its the latter, and the money also encourages the devs to be experimental sometimes too. Give me that Master Roshi cane wielding 5star! Sell me bunnyboys, not just bunnygirls! Make the darkest skinned Chinese game characters ever made (see: dark brown)! I know you can do it!

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Kevin Smith

I am trying to figure out what people are actually spending money on. I have played it a ton and don’t see anything you have to spend money on. I mean you could buy the currency so you can unlock characters faster but that is about it. The game gives you everything you need to try your luck at the random 10 roll at least once a day, all you have to do is play the game. I mean to be honest I wish there was something worth buying other than the random rolls because the devs did a great job with this game an do deserve to make some money off of it. Just don’t do random chance to get things myself.

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Syran

Wait, what? How do you get currency for a 10 roll a day? I can maybe get around 300 gems per day if I’m playing a lot, which equals roughly 2 single rolls.

I do agree that additional characters are not necessary to enjoy the game though, so spending money is definitely not necessary (so far). None of the gacha games I’ve played are pay to win though, it’s always just about getting the characters you want because you want them, not because you need them.

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orson0402

I watched some idiot on Youtube spend $400 in the span of a few hours. Sure it’s his money, but he is doing nothing but condoning and enabling these types of games. He even jokes and say it’s a business transaction and can write it off on his taxes.

Yangers
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Yangers

Cryy? Yeah, he does that for content and memes lol. And he just enjoys it. He always does this with gatcha games.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“The game gives you everything you need to try your luck at the random 10 roll at least once a day”

Excuse me. No they don’t. No gacha game does this. This is an exhaustible resource and within days of doing a 10roll a day, you’ll be out of it. They give daily amounts but it takes weeks to get enough to do one 10roll.

They do surprise giveaways of X gems but again, none of this makes a system where you can do afford a 10roll each day, for weeks and months, as a F2Per. Maybe one a week or two. Maybe. During generous times and doing every daily every day.

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cursedseishi

Battle Pass. Premium version is real money only and can’t be purchased through in-game currency. Which also means you can’t get a ‘refund’ of that currency out of it to spend on the next.

I’ve managed to hit about… 50-60 pulls off free currency so far, but even the fairest and kindest games in regards to Gacha elements eventually and intentionally run out of freebies.

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James Crow

its really a great game, they added the coop as last thing and you can feel this game was made to be single player – thats the down side.

i like the idea of unlocking characters but i hate duplicates :S

if people want to see some gameplay i did 2 streams and going to make more even if i have like 1 person max to my watch me playing :D

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr0zMvraabG3WsPjtrXcl3A?view_as=subscriber

Yangers
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Yangers

You need the duplicates though – they unlock the constellations of the characters, which given them extra perks.

Only thing is you can get dupes for characters you don’t want to use.

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Serenityinaz12

I’m scared to admit how much I’m liking this game, like more than any game in recent memory and I HATE mobile games. Is it really this good or I just haven’t reached the point where it turns to shit yet? I’m in disbelief and waiting for the crash lol

Also, I’m a sucker for lore and holy shit this game is full of it from tons of books to read to big descriptions on all the weapons and items and even the voice over section has tons of lore. Every npc has different things to say and even treasures to find in the dialogue branches. There is a boat load of pre-game lore on the website via the manga too which was fun to read. The voice acting is top notch, mostly, and the characters are SO well done. And FUCK there is some sick combos you can do switching characters in and out quickly in battle.

Oh, and no PVP and the developer said there will be no PVP. That is huge for me in a gacha game and where they all go P2W quickly when there is PVP involved.

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Malcolm Swoboda

It doesn’t turn to shit (so far), but I’ll put it this way (from my knowledge and not experience, as I’ll only be hitting rank 10 tonight):
– rank 1-10 is hiding almost bullshit away from you, and you only get the idea its not REALLY on the up-and-up when they introduce gacha to you through sidestepping terms like ‘wishes’
– rank 10-20 you come to understand there’s all these F2P, mobile-ish, and reliant on gacha systems, but it doesn’t feel egregious necessarily
– rank 20-30 the grind begins, and it is tough. And you notice the energy system. The need for not just gacha pulls, but duplicates for them. The fact you can only loot up to 3star gear, craft 4star, but gacha gives up to 4 and 5star. The push for group play at times, to get more/more easily a daily gacha/premium currency. The bonuses that certain characters get you that you’re realllly like to have either now (pure power based) or later (current banner wind dude lets you glide longer if he’s in your party, he also creates gust attacks that can also act as glider lifts; this is something that another game would have in its default mechanics but here its a rare gacha pull).
-rank 30-40+ is where you’re not really meant to tread unless hardcore. Everything becomes about the F2P-game min/maxing your resources and time, and becomes potentially anti-fun as your primogems largely dry out.

That said… while most of the game basically ends around AR20(-30), patch 1.1 is supposedly adding the third region, more quests to the second region, and maybe basically an assortment of other content that will make AR20-30(-40) much more appealing to the casual. And this update may arrive in as soon as this month. I’d guess Nov-Dec will be slower content and events as devs try to respond to initial playerbase concerns, then a 4rd region could come early next year.

There will always be new characters (versions of characters too?). As this is gacha law. And they’ll come every 2 or 4 weeks for sure. You will not get them all. I repeat – you can spend thousands of dollars regularly and not get them all, and then a new one is around the corner. And some may be limited runs, or holiday limited runs, or maybe-one-time-only collaboration runs if they’re going to go there (I hope not; the one collab I love is the Persona 5 one in Another Eden because they just give out the characters and the content all stays).

I hope they patch the dialogue system so I don’t have to speak up every time I want to say a different thing to a NPC.

Genshin Impact will not have PvP unless there’s a consistently strong outcry for it, which I hope doesn’t happen. But like any MMORPG design that could come, it’ll be in a limited form, in this case through ranking events and casual implicit (that is, no fighting against each other) competition. I would be surprised if they even add in an arena mode. Not shocked, and gacha games often eventually go there, but surprised.

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vgees

I am absolutely fascinated because this game is way too good to be a f2p title. It’s like someone had a dream project/vision but f2p was the only way it could be made. I am happily throwing money at it, because I’m enjoying it. And good voice acting too! OMG

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bobfish

As far as I know, this is the company’s second game. The first launched as a premium game then moved to free to play, at which point the dev team grew from 7 people to 200 (apparently).

I’m guessing this is definitely a passion project, they could’ve done so much less and still made a lot of money, just with mobile.

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Malcolm Swoboda

There’s a lot of devs with a lot of talent that have to resort to gacha to justify profitmaking but then use that as springboard for several years of sustained heavy development.

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gridley17

When you say, “but then use that as a springboard for…development,” are you implying they ease off the gacha mechanics after they have earned “enough” or that they simply don’t push the gacha even further? I don’t nit pick on why developers use dirty game mechanics so much as I like to know if they use those mechanics at all so that I can avoid their games. I ask out of genuine curiosity because I don’t follow mobile developers near as much as I do on the PC side of things.

Any examples of mobile developers or games that do gacha “right”? As a game mechanic, I feel its one of the worst things to happen to gaming in general. Right up there with purchasable stamina mechanics.

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Malcolm Swoboda

By ‘springboard for development’ I mean they get to make, in some ways, their ‘dream game’ for several years of employment. I’m talking somewhat strictly about the creative minds, the visual artists, the writers, the combat designers, that need the stable work in a field that rarely brings returns for smaller independent single purchase games, especially in the east, or regarding regions like India where almost all gaming is mobile and thus F2P.

The more story focused but successful gacha monetized titles end up with enough content (tuned well or poorly over time, hopefully the former) for several premium games over. They get to go off the wall with stories that they’d need multiple sequels and levels of corporate approval to get to. There’s usually generic starts and then, if the talent is retained for the project for years, they get wild with storylines in great ways. And features, ideally, get so much polish that the app is a well honed machine. Again, ideally. Point is, developers get years of ‘safe’ employment where they can be more creative than they’d almost ever otherwise be, just as long as they pump out those damn meta crashing gacha characters and grindy events.

Gacha game devs don’t ever ease up the gacha’s usefulness. They’ll add new rarities (6star.. 7star exist, and beyond, all added post-launch) with deeper requirements. They’ll add sidegrade ‘shift’ forms of units that are not as necessary to get asap but are meta for certain content. They’ll add alternate element forms that just have a better element strength/weakness for certain content. They’ll push flat out meta crashing units that you question how they even got released – this is more fine in purely PvE games but many of them have PvP modes and don’t care to be as fair as a MOBA.
BUT, most ‘good’ gacha game devs become VERY VERY generous with pulls over time, to the point that F2Pers just feel like their login rewards (more or less, or that plus doing events + clearing new perma content) give them expansions to the game’s already existing fun, rather than needing to pay any money. Apparently the devs for Genshin, with their previous game, became very generous with the gacha and you could comfortably do quite well, only assuming you never want to max out a specific character, especially a new one, immediately.

I don’t think there’s a single gacha game developer that does it exactly as I would deem ‘right’, or totally easy to ethically swallow. But there are several that are arguably very close, as long as you accept that the developers accept individuals choosing to dump thousands of dollars into their single game nonetheless (but that’s F2P monetization generally). Another Eden flat out gives you several 5star units and several more 5star grind upgrade paths at this point, and is not turning all new content to be ‘p2w’ (though recent updates have made any powercreep more overt than before, its not necessary to have to clear even top superbosses). It also locks nice character quests behind acquiring the characters, so you can’t get 100% of story for free since F2Pers won’t have every character. Dragalia Lost is just Nintendo flexing and building up an IP instead of a cashcow, so its very generous and probably just wanting DL to be a major IP for premium titles later (like what’s happening with Granblue Fantasy, which got a paid fighting game and will get a paid action adventure game).

As a ‘game mechanic’, to me, gacha ranges from absolutely abysmal, to easily tolerable. In the best cases, its just a timed and often randomized expansion to character power. Like some games want you to have several copies of a character to fully unlock their kit (often needing in-game activities to still develop the character to that unlocked level), but most stuff doesn’t actually need that character to be there. In gameplay.. its like having a JRPG party, they can all do fine against normal enemies and survive against bosses, but they can’t reach the 9999/99999 caps, cast ultima, or use omnislash limit breaks until a certain time, eventually, at a random moment, you can then start to upgrade them. Can you clear the story without these things? Do impressive looking moves? Cast magic and hit enemies? Sure, and enjoy the gameplay. But the shiniest toys or the shiniest aspect of the toys might be missing, or lagged, or you get it for one character instead of the one you adore. So superbosses like Emerald Weapon are either tougher than they arguably should be, or you have to wait longer than you arguably should be in order to kill it ‘right’. But should you be enraged about it, if you can get the game otherwise for free (sort of – I resent always online that can shut down, more than gacha itself), and complete the story, and the likely many future stories they add also for free? No, not enraged, IMO. Bothered enough to not deal with it, perhaps. And its different when broken terrible PvP gets involved, of course. Eventually sticking with a gacha game gives you 5/max rarity characters enough to have multiple teams of them for free, and you can develop them as you wish with few to no restrictions than f2p/dailies grind itself, again stuff already existing in games Massively readers regularly enjoy, for better or worse.