I approached to Buy Genshin Account with trepidation (as I mentioned in my initial impressions of the game). As a former smoker and drinker (and a current gamer), I’m no stranger to imprudent spending. But then, the game swept me off my feet with its windswept, breezy orchestrated score, deep role-playing mechanics and surprisingly well-written characters with compelling arcs.
While “Genshin Impact” by developer miHoYo is taking the gaming world by storm (in part thanks to PC and console releases), it’s worth stressing again that although the game is free, there are many insidious ways the game tries to nab your real-world cash. It’s a mobile-first game in the “gacha” genre, which is essentially gambling real-world cash in a casino where the house always wins, no matter how bottomless your luck.
Here’s how it works: You punch in your credit card to buy the game’s fantasy currency. The game offers three “banners” to try your luck, each with its own set of detailed chances for various items. In “Genshin Impact,” the main draw is to win characters. Once you decide to spend, the game will “open” a wish with either a weapon inside, or if you’re lucky, a four-star or five-star character. The game also offers “pity rolls,” where if you roll too many times without a good pull, the game will randomly select a good reward for you. More often than not, it won’t be what you wanted.
Case in point: Pat Boivin is a Twitch streamer and longtime gaming personality, as well as a new fan of the game who’s decided to regularly stream it to his 84,000 followers on his channel Pat Stares At. In an Oct. 2 stream, Boivin decided to spend $100 of his own money, as well as $40 of donations from his subscribers, to gamble and roll for new characters.
He ended up getting a lot of characters he didn’t want, duplicates of ones he already had, and more than a hundred weapons that will end up being recycled for materials and trash. It didn’t feel good. One of his viewers, a user named Mortal Man Baby, wondered if Boivin was scaring people away from trying the game.
“If there are people that see this monetization explained in depth and get scared away from it, that’s fine,” Boivin said on stream. “I don’t care if this game is successful. I’m having a blast with it, genuinely. I also realize that some of you may be susceptible to gambling problems. And if I continue to play this on stream without a proper warning, that means I am enticing you to engage in your gambling problem.”
The game is already a resounding success. Analytics firm App Annie said the game saw 17 million downloads in its first four days of release. This doesn’t include the number of downloads on PC and PlayStation 4, the two ports that brought global attention to this game.
It’s because “Genshin Impact” is unlike any mobile game before it. The trick is to create a compelling universe in which players invest their time, and hopefully money. It worked on me, like a spell.