Honkai: Star Rail’s spectacular launch is not all good news for Genshin Impact maker Hoyoverse, a new report has claimed.
Naavik’s in-depth write-up on Honkai: Star Rail suggests that it has already generated $1bn in revenue since it launched in April.
But after working hard to move many Genshin Impact players over to its new game, Naavik says creator Hoyoverse has found Star Rail to be less effective at monetising its audience. “On a portfolio level, Honkai Star Rail isn’t driving incremental revenue for Mihoyo,” says the report.
“Even though Mihoyo did see record revenue levels during Star Rail’s launch months, the total monthly portfolio revenue has come down to pre-Star Rail levels. In other words, it has clearly cannibalised Genshin Impact.”
“This cannibalisation is in large part driven by Mihoyo heavily promoting Star Rail to Genshin Impact’s audience, plus working with many Genshin Impact influencers to stream Star Rail instead. While it’s generally wise to lean on your portfolio’s audience to drive future product success, the fact is that Star Rail and Genshin Impact are both time-consuming with insane spend depth, and players have both limited time and budgets for gaming.”
“It’s quite simple: Genshin Impact players are spending more time and money in Star Rail and therefore not as much in Genshin Impact anymore.”
The report goes on to state that Star Rail is not as “revenue efficient” as Genshin Impact if you look at the two games’ revenue per download curves. “At month five, Star Rail’s iOS US RPD is -40% lower than that of Genshin Impact’s ($3.32 vs $5.48),” says Naavik. Star Rail also does not monetise as well as Genshin Impact in the West, according to data.ai numbers.
Naavik’s writers go on to theorise that the relative weakness is down to Star Rail’s gacha system being overly generous in the early part of the game, a lack of things to do in the endgame and middling live ops engagement. It also notes that there was relatively little in the way of monetisation testing before global launch.
The report concludes: “While Star Rail’s current success is commendable, its path to $5 billion is still questionable. Even though the game is a breath of fresh air to turn-based RPGs, had a great launch, and was able to attract Western players, it is now cannibalising Genshin Impact, not generating incremental revenue for Mihoyo, and clearly has some product issues to work through to become more revenue efficient.”
“Further, Star Rail’s launch clearly showcases some cracks in the Hoyoverse strategy. Mihoyo needs to rapidly learn from Star Rail’s launch implications and figure out how to not make the same mistakes with their next new game launch.”