Mobile gaming industry grows rapidly, and Chinese developers seem to be the vanguard of this trend. Lots of popular games on mobile devices are owned by Chinese companies, and the projects they develop instantly become hits both locally and abroad. Genshin Impact is arguably the most impressive example of such a successful project.
Made by miHoYo, a Shanghai-based mobile developer, this unique game managed to earn $1 billion in just 6 months, beating even Pokémon Go. While it may not be as entertaining as Red Ball 3: Jump For Love, the game is still popular among millions of people. But what’s the secret? Maybe it has some really unique mechanics?
Or maybe the developer just knows some advanced strategies of promotion? In this article, we’re going to analyze the Genshin Impact case to understand how it became so popular and what this success has to do with the way Chinese make and advertise their mobile games.
Genshin Impact is completely free. That’s right: you don’t have to pay anything to start playing, and that’s probably one of its most attractive features for a good portion of players. However, there are in-game purchases that can affect your experience: give you extra items or characters without having to earn them the hard way.
Of course, you can play the game for months without wasting your money on virtual assets, and you don’t have to buy anything to follow the main story. But spending real money makes the game easier, and the loot box mechanics compel you to spend more in the hope of acquiring really valuable items that will make your progression even faster.
The developers made the game really interesting, so many people are eager to pay some amount of real money to play with more comfort, and that’s the core of the Genshin Impact monetization model. That’s not a new idea, but it seems to work rather well even for players outside of Asia, and that’s what allows the game to earn so much revenue.
Key aspects of a successful mobile game
If we analyze Genshin Impact thoroughly, we can actually notice several important aspects that seem to affect its quality and success. These factors include:
- Aggressive ads — this aspect is especially important before the release. The developers invest in marketing to reach as many people as possible, building a strong community and promising all kinds of rewards for sticking to the game. Anything goes: youtubers, social media, even traditional means like ads on the street.
- Localization — if you want to conquer the global market, you have to think about consumers in other countries and their cultural nuances. It’s not sufficient to just translate all the texts, it involves adapting the story, dialogue, and characters to each region.
- Stickiness mechanisms — the Chinese developers care a lot about keeping players in the game. Their common strategies include daily rewards for logging in or doing simple quests, holiday events, and social aspects: guilds, friends, raids. These elements were always a notable aspect of Asian games, but now it gets used to the fullest.
- Subtle monetization — nobody likes the model where you have to pay just for playing a game. Instead, most of the recent games use various F2P models more or less dependent on random items gathered in loot boxes. It allows the developers to exploit the human psyche to earn more, but it’s still important not to over-monetize.
The majority of recent mobile games made by the Chinese companies seem to take all these aspects into account, and that’s probably why become so successful and set examples for other companies in the industry.