50 million downloads in less than a week: Zenless Zone Zero, MiHoYo's action-RPG gacha, is (unsurprisingly) popular

Zenless Zone Zero Nicole build - Nicole flipping a coin
(Image credit: miHoYo)

Even if you're pretty miserly on gacha games' entire shtick—god knows I am—you can't deny that MiHoYo hasn't missed yet.

Kicking down the door to a market (and then proceeding to corner it) back in 2020 with a little game called Genshin Impact, you might've heard of it, MiHoYo proceeded to make a turn-based RPG with the same legendary polish via Honkai Star Rail.

It's still early days, but it looks like action-RPG Zenless Zone Zero, a game released barely over a year since Honkai's debut, is poised to be a hat trick. According to the game's official Twitter account, Zenless Zone Zero has already raked in over 50 million downloads worldwide:

"Since its release, Zenless Zone Zero has reached 50 million downloads globally. A city that once only existed in the hopes and dreams of the dev team has never been as buzzing with life as it is now. Your patience and support have made New Eridu what it is today."

The number of people who liked it enough to spend money is a different matter, but you can't deny that the interest is certainly there—50 million is the equivalent of three Norways, five and a half Londons, or 1.3 Californias.

To put it in perspective, World of Warcraft had a peak of around 12 million subscribers with Wrath of the Lich King. The kind of Steam concurrents we celebrate—Helldivers 2 with 300,000 players for example—barely come close to even scraping that number. Fortnite hit around 6 million concurrents last year.

Now, granted, downloads are different from concurrent players. It's very likely that the vast majority of ZZZ-ers will futz around for a bit, parry some bad guys, and then never touch the thing again.

It'll be even more interesting, perhaps, to see if MiHoYo will struggle to spread out its finite audience over three whole titles—especially considering the nature of Gacha games, which reward money and time invested over anything else. Plenty of people might absolutely adore ZZZ, but they're likely also Genshin Impact players, and, well, they're already playing Genshin Impact.

Granted, World of Warcraft's actually seen some success by diluting the waters with things like Season of Discovery, Classic, and WoW Remix all running at the same time—providing lots of different ways for players to engage with the game. Likewise, MiHoYo might not actually give a damn if some players peel off Genshin and Honkai, so long as the money's going towards the collective.

Worrying implications about gacha monopolies notwithstanding, I'm yet to give it a spin myself and our review is still in-progress. However, Honkai Star Rail stan and fellow PC Gamer writer Mollie Taylor played a preview build earlier this month and, despite not being "one for parry combat at all" found plenty to like in its action-game stylings, even if the lack of exploration gave her pause for concern.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.