According to reports, Microsoft is looking for their own massive live service success story to breach into the vast money hoards of the Chinese market. Inspired by the ludicrous financial success of Genshin Impact, it looks like we may be rolling slowly towards the great gacha era of video games. A great move for Microsoft in a business sense, but terrible news for those out there pushed away by aggressive monetisation.
This all comes from Reuters, whose sources claim that “Microsoft Corp is stocking up on Chinese video game content to emulate Sony Group Corp's success with Genshin Impact". The article goes on to state that, according to their sources, Microsoft was scouting the region for developers they could work with, offering substantial amounts of money to break into the Chinese development industry.
Let's break this down. The desire Microsoft has to cut out its piece of the incredibly lucrative Chinese pie is obvious and understandable, and Genshin Impact’s humongous success both in that region and abroad is a prospect almost too lofty to ignore. For a mega corporation That, alongside the industry-wide push towards live service and Xbox Game Pass’ lack of a big gacha title, all justify this march towards anime-inspired slot machine money.
For those of us who remain a bit grossed out by gacha monetisation, this isn’t exactly great news. Yes, Genshin Impact is a good game. A great game even! With enjoyable open world exploration and a level of depth that keeps you coming back and experimenting with the elemental affinity of your characters. It is, however, a great game attached to a big slot machine. The fact that it pulls in so much money is impressive, but so are the income figures of a casino. It is gambling in shiny packaging.
Is there hope that whatever Microsoft is thinking won’t include gacha monetisation? Maybe. Game Pass could be the real product it aims to sell in Chinese markets, switching out the huge waves of income taken from those pulling the lever hoping for their favourite rare character or weapon for a entrenched base of Chinese users paying a monthly sub for free games.
I, for one, have a dark fascination about what a Microsoft exclusive gacha title could spew out into the world. While it sounds like the company would simply throw heaps of cash at a Chinese developer, the popularity of Halo Infinite’s cat ear helmet could just be the beginning… Anime Master Chief, Forza Motorsport cars lathered in V-tubers and cute boys, Twink Marcus Fenix. I mean if Sony got Alloy into Genshin then why not right? Go wild if you’re gonna do it.
As is mentioned in the Reuters article, Genshin Impact has made Sony a lot of money. As the only console with the game present, it’s safe to expect a lot of investment and deals coming out between Microsoft and Chinese developers. The console wars may be back, with the growing population of China’s games industry as the battleground.
For more Genshin Impact articles, check out our breakdown of Genshin Impact version 3.2 update, release date and more, as well as our Genshin Impact free codes page!