Genshin Impact may be biggest-ever global launch of a Chinese game

(Image credit: MiHoYo)
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(Image credit: MiHoYo)

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Genshin Impact released this week, an open world RPG that PC Gamer has called "astounding" and the "dark horse of 2020." Genshin Impact has the odds stacked against it, as western gamers don't typically enjoy games funded by "gacha" gambling mechanics, but it's blowing up anyways. Before release, though, the game had some 5.3 million preregistrations outside of China. On launch day, it had more stream viewers than Fortnite on Twitch, and reactions from both streamers and press have been largely positive.

The South China Morning Post is citing a report that says Genshin Impact is already a top-grossing app on the Apple App Store in China, second only to the Chinese version of social media app TikTok. SCMP also interviewed multiple industry experts to get their opinions on the game's launch, and the verdict seemed to be unanimous: Huge. Developers miHoYo had a development and marketing budget of some $100 million, and much of that has effectively promoted the game not just in China, but in Japan and America as well. It's a clear sign that Chinese companies are rapidly building the skills and tech to challenge dominant Western and rival East Asian game developers in their home markets.

Despite many peoples' aversion to free-to-play games with loot boxes, and an early brush with kernel-level anti-cheat, Genshin Impact has done quite well for itself. Our Steven Messner was frank in his overview of Genshin Impact, noting that the game hadn't pressured him to spend money in his time playing. 

"Genshin Impact is easy to write it off as another one of the dozens of "gacha" RPGs that have become infamous for predatory microtransactions and exploitive progression schemes. I wouldn't blame you for being suspicious of it. When I first started playing, I certainly was. But in the 20-plus hours I've played since it launched this week (I've been a little obsessed), Genshin Impact has given me a gorgeous and densely packed world to explore, vibrant characters to meet, and a combat system centered on cleverly mixing elemental magic to destroy enemies. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite RPGs of this year," he said.

You can find Genshin Impact on its official website,

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.