The game is available on mobile devices, PC, and PlayStation 4 and seems to have taken the world by storm. There’s a minimal barrier to entry as a free-to-play game, but the developers need to make money somehow to keep the servers running. For those who don’t know exactly how this massive open-world free-to-play game makes any money, we’re going to outline the process for you here. See our simple explanation of how Genshin Impact makes money:
Genshin Impact makes money through microtransactions. There are many in-game currencies that players can purchase to buy new characters, weapons, items, and even access dungeons more often. There is no requirement to buy these currencies, but they provide more content for players in the long run.
The following is a rundown of every type of microtransaction in Genshin Impact. We’re going to describe what you get for your money and why you might want to purchase the in-game currency or item.
All Types of Microtransactions that Genshin Impact Makes Money From:
- Earned by: Playing the game organically/purchased with Primogems
The in-game currency of Fates is used to purchase Wishes. Players can earn these organically through playing the game, but there is a reason that someone might want to purchase them.
A Wish is effectively a loot box. By purchasing one, you are given a chance to earn either a four-star weapon or a four-star character. Wishes aren’t cheap, though, costing a couple of Fates. You can purchase two Fates for $4, but as with all loot boxes, the chances are quite big that you’ll get a rubbish piece of loot when you spend them.
However, if you purchase enough Fates to buy 10 Wishes, which the game recommends, you’re guaranteed to earn at least one four-star character. This will cost you $30, though, which is not that much value for money.
- Earned by: Playing the game organically, but this can be boosted with other microtransactions
The most common reward for doing everything in Genshin Impact is Primogems. These will be handed out in various amounts for doing almost anything. If you take on a group of enemies and manage to beat them all, you get some Primogems. If you complete a dungeon, you’ll get some Primogems. Even just exploring and opening chests in the world can award Primogems.
This is essential because they’re the currency you use to buy other currencies in the game. I know that sounds a little confusing, but bear with me.
With Primogems you can buy Fates, which in turn can buy Wishes. A core part of Genshin Impact is the process of leveling up characters, learning more about them and their synergies, and building the best team. While you don’t have to buy Wishes to enjoy the game, I’d argue that it’s a big part of the core gameplay that you’d be missing out on otherwise.
One Fate costs 160 Pimogems. Given the number of Primogems you can amass in such a short period of time, you shouldn’t need to spend any real money to speed up how quickly you earn them. But you can through the following microtransaction:
Blessing of the Welkin Moon
- Earned by: Buying it for around $5
The Blessing of the Welkin Moon is an account boost item in the game. It’s probably one of the biggest ways that Genshin Impact makes money from players.
You can buy this boost for around $5. That is steeper than buying Fates for Wishes, but the rewards you get from it are generally more reliable than the game’s loot box system.
With a Blessing of the Welkin Moon, you’ll get 90 Primogems per day for 30 days, for a total of 2,700. You’ll also be given 300 Genesis Crystals as soon as you buy it. More on those in the next section.
This account boost item is what most players tend to spend money on. The gradual boost of Primogems allows you to buy some fantastic items, such as characters further down the line.
- Earned by: Buying certain items, or buy purchasing directly
Genesis Crystals are the only premium currency in Genshin Impact. You can only earn them by spending real money on the game. They can be used to buy resource packs, Primogems, or Fates. This might be seen as pay-to-win, but given that there’s no competitive multiplayer in the game, it’s not a problem.
Buying Genesis Crystals is an easy way to get all the game’s characters early. Whether the reward is worth the investment is up to you. I’d argue that a little bit of grinding is more fun than just outright buying characters, though.
- Earned by: Reaching Adventurer Rank 20, can be boosted with $10-$25
Similarly to how you can’t play with friends in Genshin Impact until you’ve reached Adventurer Rank 12, you can’t access the Battle Pass until Adventurer Rank 20.
The game’s Battle Pass functions exactly like every other version across various online games. You unlock the free path at Adventurer Rank 20, which has some delicious rewards but can pay $10 to access the premium track.
The premium track of the Battle Pass triples the resources you earn from each level. As with every Battle Pass, it generally offers better rewards on the whole as well.
You earn each new level of the Battle Pass by playing Genshin Impact, doing whatever missions are available to you, and exploring as normal. However, you can use Primogems to buy levels. This is an option for those who want to complete all the Battle Pass levels and don’t have the time to play the game as much as they want to.
Finally, if you spend $25 on the Battle Pass, you can get a package of rewards and automatically get bumped up to level 10 of the Battle Pass immediately.
Stardust and Starglitter
- Earned by: Spending money on microtransactions
As you open more Wishes and spend Fates in the game, you’ll earn small amounts of Stardust and Starglitter. These are two currencies that can only be used in Paimon’s Bargains shop. Think of this as a specific vendor for deals that roll over every month or so.
Whilst you don’t necessarily pay for Stardust and Starglitter specifically, you only earn them through Genshin Impact’s microtransactions. If there’s an item from Paimon’s Bargains that you’re desperate to get, I’m afraid you’ll need to spend some Primogems, Fates, or real money on Wishes.
- Earned by: Resting for 15 hours, or recharging with Primogems
I think that Resin is probably the most hated way that Genshin Impact makes money from players. It’s a currency you need to use on specific activities, such as dungeons and Lay Line Outcrops. These activities will only provide you with rewards for your work if you spend Resin on them first.
Interestingly, Resin is a currency you get for free in the game. The only issue is that once you’ve used it, you need to wait for 15 hours for it to fully regenerate. It can be topped off with an in-game item, but over a long period of time that item isn’t a viable way to replenish Resin.
You get 120 Resin to start with, and activities cost between 20 and 60 Resin before they’ll give you rewards. You can refill your Resin by spending Primogems. However, the costs to refill increases with each time you do it. See the scale below.
- First refill: 50 Primogems
- Second refill: 100 Primogems
- Third refill: 100 Primogems
- Fourth refill: 150 Primogems
- Fifth refill: 200 Primogems
- Sixth refill: 200 Primogems
By limiting how much you can use Resin, the game makes long hours of grinding for powerful items way harder. This is usually what makes up the bulk of the endgame in other MMOs, but in Gensin Impact that endgame has been monetized a lot.
As you can see, Genshin Impact makes money primarily through charging players for in-game currency. There are a few different things you can spend money on, but overall the game relies on the addictive drive to collect characters through Wishes and its Battle Pass to generate cash.
I think the heart of this monetization has to be the Battle Pass. Most players expect a Battle Pass system in a free-to-play game. They’re also generally happy to pay for it. Given that, I suspect that Genshin Impact will continue to make money for as long as players are willing to buy the Battle Pass each season.