What is Genshin Impact – and what do you need to know?
Genshin Impact is an action-adventure, Anime-style game, with an intricate world and character design. Since its release in 2020 it’s become hugely popular, with over 50 million players worldwide.
The game and its surrounding community is still evolving. So what do you need to know about Genshin Impact – and are there any risks?
What is Genshin Impact?
Genshin Impact is an open-world role-playing game (or RPG) by game developer miHoYo.The open-world element allows players to explore the world freely at their own pace – there is no one way to play. It has an age rating of 13+, but no strict age verification process, so nothing stops younger children signing up.
The game follows the main player – known as “the Traveller” – who journeys through the fantasy world of Teyvat in search of their lost sibling. The Traveller is also tasked with restoring order to the world after it suffered an event called “the Calamity”.
The game involves battling monsters and completing quests to continue the story and open new world regions. Main story quests can only be completed in single player mode. In multiplayer mode you can explore the world alongside other players.
The Traveller is the default character, but you can also collect other characters with different abilities over the course of the game. Once you have several characters, you can create teams of four and switch between characters.
Teyvat is ruled by seven elements (for example, ‘pyro’ is fire, and ‘geo’ is earth), and each character has an elemental power they can use in combat. Part of the fun of the game is creating teams that combine different characters’ elemental powers.
Completing in-game challenges and quests raises your Adventure Rank, which in turn unlocks new quests, items and raises the skill level of monsters in the game.
Although it’s free-to-play, the game uses techniques similar to loot boxes to make money.
Why is it so popular?
Genshin Impact’s world is expansive and beautifully designed, and the game developers release consistent updates to the characters and weapons available. The game has a clear and engaging story that players are eager to follow.
The multiplayer option allows you to play with up to three other users at the same time, although you can only activate this after reaching Adventure Rank 16.
It’s also available on multiple platforms – Nintendo, Playstation, Windows and iOS – and users can play with each other across different platforms and consoles. This flexibility is a big part of Genshin’s appeal.
The game developers have a five-year plan to create new regions and characters, so new developments are in the works.
What do parents need to be aware of?
Genshin Impact has an in-game currency called “primogens”. While you can earn primogens through gameplay, earning a large amount would take hours or even days of play. This can push players to spend real-world money to buy primogens instead: some people have spent hundreds on this free-to-play game. Many young players may not be aware of how much they are actually spending.
With this in mind, it’s important to make sure that you don’t have any card details saved on the device your child is playing with and encourage them to talk to you if they feel pressured to spend money on the game.
Genshin Impact has been criticised for relying heavily on ‘Wishes’, Genshin’s name for loot boxes. Loot boxes are essentially virtual chests containing some kind of reward, and have been criticised for promoting gambling behaviour in children.
There are character event Wishes and weapon event Wishes. Character Wishes offer a pack of possible characters, and weapon Wishes offer a pack of possible weapons.
Although each Wish shows you all items or characters you could potentially receive, actually getting a high value item is quite unlikely. This can push players into buying more and more Wishes in the hope of getting the character or weapon they want.
While you can pay for Wishes by earning primogens through gameplay, the quickest and easiest way is by purchasing the in-game currency with real money.
The multiplayer (or co-op) mode allows you to play alongside up to three other players. This can be useful when battling bosses or trying to complete a tricky side-quest. Note that if you join someone else’s game as a guest, only the host’s game will progress.
If your child is using multiplayer mode, they can accept anyone into their game, including players they may not know. With this in mind, make sure that they have their multiplayer set to “join after approval” or “reject join requests”. This will ensure that your child has some control over who they’re playing with. It’s also important to remind them that playing with people they don’t know may not be safe.
Reporting and blocking functions
If your child is playing in a multiplayer mode and comes across abusive behaviour or language, they can block the player by clicking their icon in the in-game chat.
miHoYo doesn’t have a specific reporting function and their terms are not particularly clear on how they respond to breaches of their code of conduct. If your child has experienced a problem with a player, your best option is to block the player and submit a written complaint to miHoYo via email.
There’s a vibrant community around Genshin Impact, particularly given the regular updates involved.
Whatever space or platform your child is using to interact with other players, make sure they are aware of the blocking and reporting functions available.
Many players also use Twitch or YouTube to stream their gameplay. If your child is watching someone play on Twitch, keep in mind that these streamers may well have spent money to purchase the best characters and weapons. A lot of streamers will stream videos of them opening Wishes, which can encourage young people to keep spending to be a part of this community.
Sexualised character design
Genshin Impact is rated 13+ – although, as mentioned, it does not require users to verify their age – which means that it cannot contain any sexually explicit content. However, some characters (particularly female characters) have revealing costumes that you may not be comfortable with your child seeing.
Those involved in the Genshin Impact community sometimes create their own depictions of characters as fan art, which may be overtly sexualised or even pornographic in nature. Again, if your child is involved in any of these communities or forums they may come across sexualised images that could be distressing.
Genshin Impact: the Parent Zone view
Genshin Impact is a highly detailed, expansive game that is sure to engage any player, particularly as the developers continue to add new regions and characters to explore. The multiplayer option is also a great feature, allowing extra collaboration and social interaction between players.
The use of loot boxes is a cause for concern. They can be exploitative of young people who may be susceptible to pressure from their peers, streamers or others in the Genshin Impact community. You can read Parent Zone’s report on these techniques here.
Make sure that you keep up a conversation with your child about the game and the platforms surrounding it, and encourage them to come to you if they ever have a problem.