After Genshin Impact has generated billions of dollars since its release, we’re on the verge of two potentially big new games from Chinese developers.
One from Genshin Impact developer Hoyoverse, Zenless Zone Zero, one from Perfect World, Tower of Fantasy, a new MMORPG.
I’ve been playing Tower of Fantasy, and sure enough, maybe 15 minutes into the game, you’re introduced to its gacha system, which lets you pull powerful rare weapons and additional skins to use. Zenless Zone Zero will also have a roster of gacha-based characters, and of course, gacha is the reason Genshin Impact made so much money in the first place. You’re not just paying for power, you’re gambling on it.
However, if you like these games, Gacha creates an interesting problem that I haven’t experienced in the same way in other games. For most field service games, the problem is timing. Like, I can’t keep up with every new Destiny, Harbinger, Avenger, The Division and Wonderland development at the same time. But what if I want to stay up to date? Spending $10 for a new season or $20-40 for an expansion isn’t the end of the world.
But Gacha? That’s not the same. While Genshin Impact gives players a lot of freedom to play the entire game without spending money, they do a great job. Same Nicely created attractive characters and weapons, so you think to spend money. and spend what I have.
Now, this creates a weird situation where I feel like I’m so invested in Genshin Impact that I’m bored with other games of the same genre because I don’t want/can’t afford to start a gacha “collection” from scratch. It’s hard to imagine investing in Tower of Fantasy or Zenless Zone Zero instead of continuing to use Genshin as they continue to add content and new zones.
In the case of the Hoyoverse, this turned into complete cannibalism. It’s easy to see how players might be interested in both ZZZ and Genshin, but have no budget for either. So either they spend less money on Genshin or ignore ZZZ in the first place.
Take Perfect World as an example, if you designed your entire monetization system to imitate your competitors, then you’d better offer a more attractive product than your competitors. This is not a traditional game, you just have to convince players to spend $60 for a boxed copy, Tower of Fantasy has to deal with Genshin Impact players trying to pull tens, hundreds or even thousands of dollars in that ecosystem, and telling them They need to start over, or stick with perma-f2p.
The thing about gacha is…it works. There’s a lot of income in this model, some people think it’s predatory, maybe these sacrifices are okay.Hoyovers did not care Where do you spend, as long as you spend with them somewhere. Even if the Tower of Fantasy is 20% done with Genshin Impact, that’s still huge.
However, I wonder about the long-term sustainability of gacha. If this becomes an increasingly common revenue stream, I do wonder if the genre will eat itself because it’s not sustainable for players.Or it closes immediately before the game even starts, i.e. I don’t have much interest in the tower of fantasy because This is gacha, and Genshin has taught me how big a sink this can be. This also appears to be moving in the direction of potential regulation, as “loot boxes” are already doomed in many places. It’s the same concept, but honestly, even worse in many ways.
There’s definitely some West v. East stuff going on here as gacha is more prevalent and accepted in Asia and is just starting to pick up steam in the West with games like this, but it’s something I definitely want to focus on and see how this is trending How sustainable is the big arc.