There’s a lot of talk about what the future of gaming holds, whether it’s trend-chasing battle royales or the advent of web3 gaming and its blockchain currencies. But if you want to find the real money, look at the mobile. And if you want to see a sprawling open-world game that dwarfs absolutely everything else in terms of revenue, check out China’s Genshin Impact, the global smash hit.
Analyst firm Sensor Tower has released a new report saying that Genshin Impact has earned $3 billion in revenue on mobile alone since launch, averaging $1 billion every six months in spending. This is more than double the next closest gacha game, Lineage W, in terms of quarterly revenue from the first quarter of this year, and Genshin has maintained this momentum for a long time. Only Honor of Kings and PUBG Mobile are making more money overall.
However, that is only part of the story, as Genshin Impact is also available on PS4, PS5, and PC. Sensor Tower only estimates mobile revenue, so Genshin’s overall totals may be much higher, though miHoYo hasn’t publicly discussed them.
The report also says that players only get plus committed to time. Average monthly active users in the first quarter of 2022 are up 44 percent year over year, and they expect the game to hit $4 billion in mobile revenue as the year progresses.
If you know anything about the game, it’s no big surprise why it makes so much money. Genshin Impact combined the sprawling world and mystery of Breath of the Wild with a colorful cast of anime characters creating a game that is genuinely interesting, fun, and engaging, even if you don’t spend anything. A rarity in the genre.
However, it is monetized strongly using the gacha system. Every few weeks, the game introduces new characters and weapons that can only be obtained through its “wish” system, which allows players to gamble to “lure” these coveted characters. If you are very lucky, you can get one to win free in-game currency. Otherwise, it can cost anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred dollars to “guarantee” a copy. To max out a character, which requires seven total pulls to unlock its full constellation, we’re probably talking thousands of dollars. And many whales will pay for that.
Genshin also continues to be a huge force on social media, as on any given day, the game or some random character will be trending with tens of thousands of mentions among the highly engaged fanbase.
The world of Genshin Impact has expanded at a somewhat staggering rate, with miHoYo releasing huge patches and additions every six weeks or so since launch, only recently interrupted by the Shanghai COVID lockdown delaying the next patch. But there’s a reason this game is making billions, and this report indicates that it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
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