Along with other online titles like League of Legends and Overwatch, Genshin Impact sets an excellent example of one way microtransactions should be handled in gaming, but there is a big issue with the gacha mechanic that can be compared to past controversies.

Though Genshin Impact was initially labeled a \”Breath of the Wild clone\” by the gaming community upon its announcement, there are many elements it brandishes unique to itself. One of these elements is microtransactions and the way they are handled follows with an unaggressive free-to-play business model and is an excellent example of how developers can grant full access to freemium software while imposing microtransactions that make up for an up-front cost. While there is one danger to this business model, it works out well for casual gamers who want a non-committal experience or simply don\’t have the money to spend $60 on each brand-new game.

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Genshin Impact\’s Free-to-Play Content

The wonderful thing about Genshin Impact is that it follows the traditional free-to-play model, where a significant portion of the game\’s open-world content is accessible without having to pay a dime. The game is free to start and download, and rather than hitting a paywall at any point, Genshin Impact has its version of an in-game premium currency called Primogem. They are rare but can be both acquired during in-game events and rewards as well as real money paid for them. What\’s great about Primogem is the game won\’t belligerently ask the player to purchase more and more, and it\’s not overtly important to playing the bulk of current playable content.

Some Genshin Impact players have found they can reach up to approximately 30 hours of gameplay before they\’re unable to pass more difficult areas of the game, which is where Primogem and Wishes come in, and the possibility of spending real cash. Though there are many methods to besting late-game content without buying Wishes, the gacha game that allows the player to win rare characters and weapons can make it more convenient. But again, it\’s not necessary for playing the bulk of Genshin Impact\’s content.

This means that virtually all of the content in Genshin Impact is free-to-play and the player can possibly get through every single quest and location without spending a single dollar. It\’s simply a matter of convenience and luck, which is one reason why the gacha game in Genshin is so dangerous.

However, though it might be expected with gacha games, some players are throwing away hundreds of hard-earned dollars because of it. It draws back to that old argument brought forth from the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box controversy of whether this is a form of online gambling or not. It\’s not been confirmed by specialists that this is the case, however, whenever this similar free-to-play model is rolled out in a video game, the community will find players spending hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars playing their luck at the gacha game. All for characters that could have been acquired at no cost in the first place.

Genshin Impact is available now for Android, iOS, PC, and PS4, with a Nintendo Switch release planned.