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Is Genshin Impact free?
Gamers are inherently more likely to try something if the entry cost is zero — witness the runaway success of Epic’s Fortnite. You probably know that miHoYo’s Genshin Impact is free-to-play, but here we’ll ask the greater questions of what that means, and whether it’s worth getting sucked into the game’s economy.
Genshin Impact is free-to-play. You'll need to spend in-game Primogems for chances at unlocking new characters and weapons. While Primogems can be earned for free, you're encouraged to speed up the process by spending real money.
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Is Genshin Impact free?
Technically, yes. It’s what’s known as a “free-to-play” or “freemium” game, in that you can start playing — potentially for dozens or hundreds of hours — without spending a dime.
The game needs to turn a profit somehow however, and that’s where gacha mechanics come in. You might not be familiar with the gacha concept, but all you need to know is that in the context of Genshin Impact, you need to make “wishes” for a chance at an unlocking a valuable character or weapon. You spend in-game Primogems on each wish, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get the character/item you were hoping for. miHoYo regularly cycles through limited drops, so it’s entirely possible to miss something you want if you don’t use dozens of wishes.
While you can earn Primogems simply by playing, you can also use real money to grow your stash faster. That includes buying Crystals, or battle pass-style options like Gnostic Hymn or Blessing of the Welkin Moon. Crystals can be converted into wishes, although you can also spend them directly on character outfits. If you convert them into Primogems, you can potentially spend as much as $100 to get 50 wishes.
Is Genshin Impact pay-to-win?
No. There’s no intrinsic barrier to winning, since any characters and items you need can be earned just by playing. In fact the game has sometimes been praised for how much it lets you experience without spending money.
That said, better characters and weapons will naturally make some encounters easier, so dropping cash on the gacha system will speed up your progress. Otherwise you’ll need to be patient, or grind for Primogems whenever possible.
Is it worth spending money on Genshin Impact?
The answer to this is highly subjective. If all you want is an action RPG with quality graphics, story, and gameplay, you could spend a one-time fee on something like Diablo IV, Elden Ring, or Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and be plenty satisfied. You’ll probably pay well under $100, for that matter.
Even if there’s something particularly appealing about Genshin Impact, you can get along just fine without spending real money, or at least spending relatively little. You’ll gradually earn enough Primogems to survive the toughest encounters. It’s just a question of being patient, or seizing opportunities for extra Primogems when they appear. You’ll also need to get over your FOMO — fear of missing out. You don’t need every cool five-star character that miHoYo advertises.
In fact, we’ll warn people with gambling issues to avoid Genshin Impact entirely. There can be a strong temptation to treat the gacha system like a slot machine, and like real slot machines, you’re probably going to spend far more than the reward is worth.