Having raked in over $3 billion in mobile revenue alone, Genshin Impact is clearly bringing in big bucks for developer HoYoverse, who has recently diverted their attention to other projects, from new games to massive tech investments.
The game's financial success stems from its gacha system—a gambling pool that encourages players to spend real money on draws. Each draw grants players the opportunity to obtain a coveted five-star character or weapon, which is heavily marketed before release to build up desire. New units enter the pool for a limited period to bring a sense of urgency: draw now or wait months for your favorite character to rerun.
With the ability to further enhance characters and weapons by obtaining multiple copies, players are even more compelled to spend to be the best. But despite this jarring monetization strategy, the gacha model isn't always pay-to-win. It all boils down to implementation, drawing forth the question of whether Genshin Impact has successfully created a model that's free-to-player friendly amid its high-cost banners.
Can you play Genshin Impact without spending money?
Genshin Impact is not a pay-to-win game, which means that players can enjoy it without spending any real-life money. The main reason is that Genshin has no PvP system—a game mode that encourages the character meta to move quickly, consequently pushing players to the edge of the financial competition. Additionally, Genshin Impact's character pool is balanced, allowing players to opt for characters they like, removing the pressure of pulling for specific units.
While obtaining copies of characters and weapons enhances their abilities, doing so is entirely optional. Competitive players may feel compelled to throw in cash for these copies, but the reality is that gameplay will not be compromised without any Constellations or Refinements.
How can free-to-players pull for characters in Genshin Impact?
All characters and weapons can be drawn with a premium currency called Primogems, which can be obtained for free from codes, events, and general gameplay rewards. In a month of doing only Daily Commissions, players can earn around 1,800 Primogems—enough for 11 pulls in the gacha. Plenty of events and content keep the Primogem supply flowing.
Since new banner releases are announced in advance, players have ample time to save up for them. A pity system has also been put in place for both characters and weapons, so players can calculate the exact number of Primogems they need for a guaranteed pull.
Do you pay for cosmetics in Genshin Impact?
Unfortunately, players need to pay for cosmetics in Genshin Impact. Outfits can be purchased from the shop using Genesis Crystals—a currency that can only be purchased with real-life money. On the bright side, the Blessing of the Welkin Moon, a $5-per-month subscription, grants a 300 Genesis Crystal bonus on top of a daily Primogem payout. Since Genshin Impact rarely releases cosmetics, it's possible to eventually save up for an Outfit by regularly purchasing the Welkin Moon every month.
Moreover, only five-star character Outfits cost Genesis Crystals. While four-star Outfits can also be purchased with this currency, they can be obtained for free by participating in events.
Check out our compilation of Genshin Impact Codes to get free Primogems to pull for your favorite characters!