LEIPZIG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 15: A participant stands with a mobile phone to play a video game at the 2019 DreamHack video gaming festival on February 15, 2019 in Leipzig, Germany. The three-day event brings together gaming enthusiasts, mainly from German-speaking countries, for events including eSports tournaments, cosplay contests and a LAN party with 1,500 participants. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

Genshin Impact, the game that was described as Breath of the Wild meets anime, had one hell of a first year as it raked in more than $2 Billion in revenue. It’s important to keep in mind that amount was only for Mobile and doesn’t include whatever the game also made on PC and Consoles. Despite being referred to as a mobile Gacha game, it’s playable on all platforms except the Nintendo Switch.

Taking into account how similar Genshin is to Breath of the Wild in terms of exploration gameplay and that it’s free to play, it’s no surprise that the game has done as well as it has. But how did it bring in so much revenue? It’s the Gashapon aspect of the game, which describes the type of vending machines in Japan that give out random, mystery capsule prizes. Otherwise known as Gacha for short, this type of game design relies on the player paying for a random prize and hoping them get what they want.

Mobile games have been using this type of design for quite a while and in a lot of cases they don’t even need the average player to spend a lot of money. Usually, profits come from a large amount of players spending small amounts and a small amount of players spending insane amounts (known as whales).

The mobile gaming market has been on the rise and for a game like Genshin Impact that is available both on mobile devices and on consoles and PC, it should come as no surprise that it’s doing as well as it is. As a free to play game, there’s virtually no buy in to start, but if you enjoy the game the pull to start spending money to get better is hard for some people to resist.


Feature Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images