With HoYoverse recently releasing Honkai: Star Rail, some Genshin Impact players may be worried about the long-term of the game, and as it turns out, their concerns may be warranted. Although the former has only seen the light of day for a few weeks – having officially launched on April 26, 2023 – it has already seen some astounding results, which could threaten Genshin‘s longevity in a number of ways.
On paper, comparing Honkai: Star Rail versus Genshin Impact will yield more similarities than differences. Though both offer an immersive world to explore, plenty of characters to meet and recruit, and a considerably complex storyline, both are also gacha games at heart. Players will be at the mercy of RNG when it comes to pulling for new characters and weapons (called Light Cones), which can, of course, be aided with in-game purchases. While it’s up to players to ultimately decide whether it’s worth spending money on things like Honkai: Star Rail‘s battle pass, the fate of Genshin Impact may no longer be in their hands.
Honkai: Star Rail’s Launch Was More Successful Than Genshin’s
The first sign of trouble for Genshin Impact makes itself apparent through Honkai: Star Rail‘s number of downloads. According to Dexerto, Genshin received around 17 million downloads within its first four days – which is certainly nothing to scoff at – but Honkai accumulated over 20 million within its first, singular day following launch. Some may have been expecting this upset with the whopping 30 million preregistrations the latter received prior to its release, but the reality of the situation appears to be that (at least initially) more players are interested in Honkai: Star Rail than Genshin Impact.
This is not to say Honkai is outperforming Genshin on a larger scale just yet; HoYoverse’s first title boasts an impressive 65 million active users, which will take some time for its successor to catch up to, even with its initial advantage. However, with its overwhelming success already, Honkai: Star Rail certainly seems to be on an upward trajectory to eventually outperform Genshin Impact, which means that the latter might eventually crumble not only on the consumers’ end, but also on the end of the developer as well.
Honkai: Star Rail Has Advantages Over Genshin Impact
Honkai: Star Rail‘s upper hand over Genshin Impact isn’t just statistical, either. The former showcases several foundational advantages over the latter, which have caused some newer players – and even some long-term Genshin players – to prefer it over the other. Two of the most significant improvements in Honkai: Star Rail are its drop rates and pity system, which are more forgiving than Genshin‘s (albeit only by a small margin). Players will still need to pull from various character and Light Cone banners using in-game currency, but after a certain amount of pulls, players are actually guaranteed a 4-star or 5-star drop in Honkai, which can’t be said for its predecessor.
Gacha aside, there are also differences in gameplay that give Honkai: Star Rail an edge over Genshin Impact. Whereas HoYoverse’s latest title isn’t technically open world, it sets itself apart through its turn-based combat mechanics, which are a large leap from Genshin‘s real-time combat.
Newer players might feel less intimidated by this streamlined battle system, as it’s less mechanically intensive than action-based combat, and those playing Honkai on mobile devices may be inclined to feel the same way. But even veteran players or those with a lot of experience playing action-centric games may find themselves enjoying a breath of fresh air with the turn-based system. For what it lacks in mechanical skill, Honkai: Star Rail‘s battles require careful thought, and they reward creative gameplay more so than Genshin Impact.
The two games are nearly identical in terms of art style, with the obvious difference being between the medieval fantasy and space exploration settings. There are some certain parallels to be drawn between characters from both titles, with some faces from Honkai: Star Rail even having Genshin Impact twins, despite contrasting themes. Gameplay-wise, though, it seems like many characters from Honkai are generally more powerful than those from Genshin.
This sentiment is evident from the very beginning of the game, as Honkai: Star Rail‘s main character Trailblazer is much stronger than Genshin Impact‘s Traveler. The protagonist twins are surprisingly powerful and versatile, which actually makes them a viable pick for the long-term. Plus, 4-star characters are only slightly weaker than those of 5-star status, and many of the free-to-play characters also stack up quite nicely. Having easier access to stronger characters makes the game feel more gratifying, especially for those newer to the gacha genre – which might make them favor Honkai over Genshin.
Genshin Impact Could Eventually Stop Receiving Updates
The aforementioned differences, which paint Honkai: Star Rail as an overall more beginner-friendly gacha game, could spell bad news for Genshin Impact. Most casual players will likely gravitate towards one of the titles as opposed to both, which puts Honkai at an inherent advantage (at least initially) as its novelty and improved gameplay strongly appeal to Genshin‘s already established demographic and newcomers alike. This has been made apparent through the former’s overwhelming success at only a few weeks in, even outperforming its predecessor on launch – and it’s probable that Honkai will only continue to see growing popularity as the game is further expanded.
If Honkai: Star Rail develops a player base that competes with Genshin Impact‘s, it’s possible that HoYoverse may shift its focus towards the newer title. With Genshin already having been put through the ringer for almost three years, it’s not unthinkable that the developer might prefer a fresher, cleaner slate with which it can avoid any developmental or design flaws from the get-go. This is not to say that Genshin Impact servers will shut down anytime soon, but it would not be shocking if HoYoverse began pushing out more updates and content for Honkai, and updates for Genshin became less frequent as a result.
Only time will tell if Honkai: Star Rail will end up killing Genshin, but with the latter now having fierce competition, the odds seem to be in the former’s favor. Its predecessor is nothing short of a success story, and it still maintains has some significant advantages over its successor, such as its multiplayer features and more expansive social system. However, with Honkai: Star Rail already managing to outperform Genshin Impact in other ways, HoYoverse fans may end up seeing the original title eventually succumb to the prosperity of the other.