Genshin Impact has officially passed its two-year anniversary as a multi-billion dollar franchise. It’s mostly played on PC and mobile, but even tech and entertainment company Sony gets a cut of its success thanks to its partnership with HoYoverse to bring the game to PlayStation consoles.
As you might know, Genshin Impact is currently only available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on the console market. However, a recent report from Reuters claims that wasn’t always going to be the case. Genshin Impact could’ve been on Xbox, but talks apparently fell through.
Reuters spoke with anonymous Microsoft reps about the company’s search for “Chinese gaming content” to compete with the likes of Genshin Impact. In short, it’s looking for a “Genshin Impact clone” of its own as an Xbox exclusive or Game Pass title. Sources told Reuters that Microsoft has mostly larage companies on its list, but is also offering money to indie developers.
The tough part is this: Microsoft had a chance with Genshin Impact before Sony picked it up. It spoke with miHoYo about Genshin Impact early in the game’s development, but “did not reach a deal,” sources said. MiHoYo subsequently partnered with Sony in 2019. Genshin Impact is still technically in development for Nintendo Switch, but because that port hasn’t come out yet, Sony has had more than two years of console exclusivity for one of the world’s biggest games.
Genshin Impact ranks among one of the most popular free-to-download games on the PlayStation store. Remember that collaboration between Genshin Impact and Horizon Forbidden West that brought Aloy into the game. It could’ve been Master Chief.
“Microsoft regretted missing out on Genshin Impact,” two sources told Reuters.
Microsoft has traditionally struggled in the Chinese console market, while Sony had a head start with the China Hero Project in 2017, a program created to help Chinese game developers publish games on its consoles. Genshin Impact is part of the latest shift in the global view of the games industry, legitimizing Chinese developers in the eyes of Microsoft and Western audiences in general. So that’s another reason for the Xbox developer’s push to catch up with Sony in the present.
Genshin Impact has had its fair share of clones already, like Tower of Fantasy and The Legend of Neverland, but none of them have come close to its level of success. Genshin Impact was repeatedly called a Breath of the Wild clone during its own launch, but no competitor has managed to match it so far.
One thing is certain — Microsoft is determined not to miss the boat the next time around. And it appears the secret is out among Chinese developers. Representatives of a company who already have a title on Game Pass told Reuters they’re holding out for a better deal on the sequel.
"We are not signing it yet because we think that when we fully complete our game, it will get an even better offer," they said.
Genshin Impact is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, iOS, and Android. It’s still in development for Nintendo Switch.