Genshin Impact's characters are at the heart of everything. New ones are released monthly, and each one has unique abilities that can help you when exploring the open world of Teyvat or taking on some of Genshin's hardest challenges. They're also just very charming, beautifully rendered, well voice-acted and typically have special story quests that dig into their backstory. Genshin Impact is a little like Pokémon—only instead of collecting cute creatures you're building a crack-team of anime heroes. Genshin Impact's characters are also how the game makes ridiculous amounts of money. Based on analysis of market intelligence website Sensor Tower, each time one is added to the game players collectively fork over around $12 million in the first day just to try and get it.
I say "try" because Genshin Impact is a gacha game that rewards new characters in what are basically limited-time lootboxes. Every month there's a different Wish Banner that players can spend Primogems on in hopes of getting one of its new characters or an old one they missed. The odds aren't in your favor: you only have a 0.6 percent chance of getting one of the ultra rare five-star characters (though there are some systems that guarantee you get one after so many tries). Primogems are easy to earn just by playing, and the lootboxes are dirt cheap. Even so, that doesn't stop players from gambling real money on these Wish Banners too.
According to mobile analyst Sensor Tower, a website that tracks spending in different mobile games, Genshin Impact has already made over a billion dollars in just six months—not even including revenue from its PC and console versions. That makes Genshin Impact the fastest growing game ever. For comparison, it took Fortnite's mobile version two years to reach the billion dollar threshold.
Driving that profit is Genshin Impact's characters. On average, Genshin Impact makes about $5.8 million a day, but whenever a new character is added that revenue surges up to an average of $12 million. And again, that's just on mobile.
The most popular character added to the game was Zhongli, the Geo polearm user who sparked controversy when players realized he had been heavily nerfed from the closed beta. MiHoYo eventually buffed him, but Sensor Tower estimates Zhongli pulled in $15.5 million on the first day he was available. Another popular champion was Xiao, who was responsible for an estimated $15.1 million in player spending when he released on February 3.
Part of the reason these two outperformed other roster additions like Albedo and the recently added Hu Tao, I suspect, is because players had been waiting for their release since Genshin's launch. Both Zhongli and Xiao were present in Genshin Impact's closed beta tests, so players were probably eager to finally play them in the full version. But I'm surprised that there's no real trend in which characters are most popular. Characteristics like gender, appearance, and even a character's ranking on Genshin Impact tier lists doesn't seem to dictate who players want to spend money on.
It's fascinating to see just how much revenue Genshin Impact's characters can generate, but I'm also not surprised that Genshin Impact is doing so well, either. MiHoYo has released a steady stream of meaningful updates and events since last year, which have made the already great RPG that much better. If you haven't tried it out yet, here's our Genshin Impact review.