The feat was accomplished in just two years on the market.
Genshin Impact, the free-to-play action-RPG from Chinese developer MiHoYo, has surpassed $3.7 billion in revenue on mobile platforms, according to a new report from analytics group Sensor Tower. The milestone was reached just two years after its September 2020 release date.
According to Sensor Tower’s data, Genshin Impact is the third highest revenue-generating mobile game globally of the last two years. It trails PUBG Mobile ($4.9 billion)and Honor of Kings ($5.5 billion), both of which are published by Tencent. Notably, Genshin Impact beat out perennial mobile mega-hits Roblox and Candy Crush Saga, which generated $2.5 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively, over the last two years.
$3.7 billion in two years is a remarkable feat, even in the extremely lucrative mobile games space, especially for a new IP. However,as Sensor Tower mobile insights strategist Craig Chapple points out, Genshin Impact is hardly MiHoYo’s first effort and the developer clearly had a sizable budget to work with.
“MiHoYo is a studio that already has successes like Honkai Impact 3rd under its belt, which recently surpassed $1 billion in global player spending,” Chapple told GameDaily. “However, the scale of its success was unexpected, having generated an average of $925 million every six months since its launch--and that’s not counting revenue from other platforms.”
What’s more, Chapple said, is that Genshin Impact is a global hit: outside of China--which accounts for only one-third of the total player base--it’s the second-highest earning mobile title of the last two years.
For Chapple, this level of success outside of China speaks to how prolific the top Chinese publishers and developers have become at creating mobile games for a global audience. MiHoYou, Tencent, and NetEase have all produced worldwide hits, and their bottom lines are seeing the benefits. Meanwhile, Lilith Games, the Chinese developer behind AFK Arena and Rise of Kingdoms, generates most of its revenue outside the country.
There also exists a trend of Chinese companies working with Western developers and publishers to bring their titles to Asian markets. For example, Tencent and TiMi Studio Group partnered with Activision Blizzard on the hugely successful Call of Duty: Mobile.
In the case of Genshin Impact, at least part of the appeal in the West is the scale of its world, Chapple said, combined with open-world design, high-end graphics, cross-platform progression, and smooth gameplay, and impressive post-launch support.
“MiHoYo has also kept those players around for the long-term by continuing to provide significant updates thanks to a near industrial-scale live ops strategy, which supplies players with entirely new gameplay modes, areas to explore and new characters on a regular basis,” he explained.
The success has led to Genshin Impact’s expansion into other forms of media. In mid-September, an anime based on the game was announced, and will be produced by Demon Slayer animation studio Ufotable. Of course, as Chapple points out, this is not the first instance of a popular mobile game transcending mediums; two Angry Birds movies have been produced, after all.
“It seems that, as long as an IP is treated with care on other formats, and that it’s the right fit for a different medium, audiences will turn up. It shouldn’t be underestimated, however, how large an endeavor it is to bring these IPs to new mediums, and the results aren’t always so successful.”
Moving forward, Chapple predicts Genshin Impact will continue to be one of the mobile sector’s titanic hits. It will surely influence other developers to take a stab at the open-world, gacha genre, but superseding it is a tall order.
“It was a huge, but calculated, risk by MiHoYo to invest so heavily into a new IP like Genshin Impact, and the ongoing investment is likely still significant,” Chapple said. “Only the largest publishers would be able to match it, but it remains to be seen whether they will also take the risk, particularly when Genshin Impact is already a market leader.”
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