If you thought that Genshin Impact was a passing phase or something reserved for lovers of Japanese anime, you’d be mistaken. The world of gacha games has grown exponentially over the last few years, and now they dominate a lot of the mobile market and beyond.

While it’s clear that the premise is a labour of love by the Japanese, noted for their pachinko games - most will play a Plinko game online - the appeal of Genshin Impact goes a little further beyond that. What is it that makes it so globally addictive? The answer lies in the crafty way it’s been put together and the free-to-play genre as a whole.

Gacha Genshin Impact

Free to Play, Visually Stunning

All one has to do is take a look at a game like Genshin Impact, and the power it holds over the world becomes clear. The game is free-to-play, which is a deceptively low cost for what the game actually offers. Casual gamers would assume they’d get a basic turn-based gaming experience which was heavily mired in ads and simple mechanics, but the truth is so far detached from that it’s unreal.

Genshin Impact is a sprawling free-roam game with absolutely stunning graphics and a focus on visual quality. The landscape is vast, and you’re free to explore it as you see fit. You’ll constantly find items and materials for creating new items. The appeal of the game is further enhanced by the fact that it is free-to-play entirely if you want. There are very few things locked exclusively behind a paywall - most gear and items can be created by hand with the materials you find if you’re prepared to put the time in.

The Rise of Gacha Games and Loot Boxes

So, why do games like this seem to bring in a loyal fanbase who spend hundreds on their favourite games each month? The answer is descriptively simple - the gacha system.

Most free-to-play games have what is called a gacha system - it’s like a random wheel of goodies that you’ll be able to spin once a day or as a reward for completing certain tasks. The wheel can contain a lot of valuable items, but the average player could take months to get one because they’re designed to have low odds.

The simple shortcut? You pay to unlock more free spins. It’s a dazzlingly simple idea but an effective one. Buying a few free spins turns into 10, then to 50, and so on. Players routinely spend hundreds on their gacha games because they get just enough rewards in the form of rare items to believe that it’s a good idea.

Final Thoughts

This simple premise has allowed games like Genshin Impact to spread out among the world and maintain a strong footing. After all, having the best items or gear in public servers gives you prestige and a sense of superiority. You put down hard-earned cash for these items, and everyone knows it. That’s the appeal of the game - a devious cocktail of social engineering, risk and reward, and the initial free-to-play model.