bottom line: Like it or not, free games with microtransactions make a lot of money. Genshin Impact makes big money. The game came out less than two years ago and has already brought Chinese developer miHoYo over $3 billion and continues to grow in popularity.

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According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, Genshin Impact eclipsed its competitors raking $567 million in the first quarter of 2022 alone, with active users up 44 percent year on year. This is made its first billion within six months of launch. In comparison, it took Pokémon Go nine months to earn $1 billion.

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While the revenue stream has slowed somewhat since launch, analysts predict that Genshin Impact will continue to average $2 billion a year for the foreseeable future. By comparison, if Microsoft can recover that much money from its $7.5 billion purchase of Bethesda, it will have a positive ROI in less than four years.

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The game has gone viral in China, with almost a third of its iOS revenue ($973.3 million) coming from Chinese players. But the appeal of Genshin Impact is spreading around the world as the game ages, thanks to frequent expansions and content additions.

Indeed, my daughter’s latest obsession – and many of her friends – is Genshin Impact, and I can see the point in that. While some have described it’s a clone of Breath of the Wild, more like a great interactive anime in my limited time with the game. In any case, in the West it is becoming very popular among teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15.