Gaming

'Genshin Impact' is hands-down the hottest mobile game out right now

People are basically funneling money into this "free" open-world RPG.

Every once in a while there's a mobile game that's just absolutely too big to ignore. Right now, that game is indisputably Genshin Impact.

Genshin Impact, from Chinese game developers miHoYo, is a (technically) free-to-play open-world action role-playing game for iOS, Android, Windows, and PlayStation 4 that utilizes "gacha" mechanics — a style of game that relies on players spending real-life money to attain items or level up. And boy, are people spending.

$245M

In just one month since launch, players have already spent a whopping $245 million in the game.

South China Morning Post

Genshin Impact's ability to capitalize on in-game purchases puts it with some pretty exclusive company. In fact, the only other mobile game to make more than Genshin in its first month is the wildly popular, Pokemon Go.

Outside of its knack for enticing players to drop cash on random loot boxes (AKA gambling), Genshin Impact offers players a pretty immense open-world experience, especially for a (again, technically) free mobile game.

Sidenote: Gacha is named after Gashapon, a type of toy dispensed by vending machines that's widely popular in Japan and elsewhere.

To put it lightly, Genshin "borrows" from games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in its expansive map and even some of its aesthetic choices and mechanics. Players can fly from mountain tops, hack their way through enemies, and explore seven unique nations within the game.

Genshin Impact also offers players several different playable characters to chose from, though you guessed it... for a price.

A cut above

Gacha mechanics like those integrated into Genshin are far from new, but what separates the game from its insidiously wallet-draining kin is its AAA trappings. Genshin Impact looks and feels like a proper AAA title, not a hastily developed clone designed solely to rake in microtransactions.

Is Genchin Impact the most inventive RPG or mobile game out there? Definitely not, but the success of melding what would normally be a AAA premium experience with some freemium action is clear, which means that you can probably expect more games within Genshin's style forthcoming.

In fact, that future is all but guaranteed. Genshin Impact is set to make a debut on the Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 5, though when exactly those versions will be available is unclear.

In any case, if you plan on playing Genshin Impact at any point in the near future, you may want to give your bank account a quick glance first. Cherish that memory, because most reports suggest it certainly won't be the same after you've taken the plunge.

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