Free-to-Play Triumph: Genshin Impact Outprofits Activision Blizzard

The free-to-play model has proven to be a goldmine for some developers. One such success story is the Chinese game studio Mihoyo, whose profitability has surpassed industry giants like Activision Blizzard and Sony’s Playstation.

According to a report by the Malaysian newspaper Guangming Daily, Mihoyo, which distributes its games internationally through its subsidiary Cognosphere or Hoyoverse, generated a revenue of 27.3 billion Yuan in 2022. This translates to nearly $3.84 billion USD. The profit stood at a staggering 16.1 billion Yuan, equivalent to over $2.27 billion.

To put this into perspective, Activision Blizzard reported a profit of around 1.5 billion USD on revenue of 7.52 billion for the fiscal year 2022. Sony’s entire gaming division, including Playstation, made a profit of 270 billion Yen, or 1.85 billion USD, in 2022.

significant portion of Hoyoverse’s revenue comes from mobile versions of their games. Data from Statista shows that the company made $715 million US dollars from in-app purchases in the first half of 2023 alone.

For a long time, the primary source of Hoyoverse’s income was the free-to-play role-playing game Genshin Impact. According to Sensor Tower, the game reached a revenue milestone of $3 billion in 2022. Despite recording its lowest monthly revenue since its launch in 2020 in May 2023, the game still brought in $53 million.

However, Hoyoverse’s new game, Honkai Star Rail, is now generating more international revenue.

Genshin Impact is a gacha game, where rewards are distributed randomly. Upon its release, many warned about its gambling-like mechanisms. Some Genshin Impact streamers reportedly spent five-figure sums on in-game content.

The success of Mihoyo and its games like Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail underscores the potential of the free-to-play model in the gaming industry. It also raises questions about the sustainability of such models and the ethical implications of their monetization strategies.

Meet Adwaith, a tech-savvy editor who's all about gadgets and gizmos. With a degree in Computer Engineering and a passion for all things tech, he's been guiding readers through the world of hardware for 10 years. Known for his clear, insightful reviews, Adwaith is the trusted voice behind TechLog360. Off-duty, he loves building PCs for charity.


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