Genshin Impact is the first Chinese video game to be a hit across the globe. It’s generated $2.7 billion since its launch in 2020, with overseas profits surpassing profits made in its origin country. Similarly, Japan is already no stranger to international success – Pokémon, Super Mario, Resident Evil, and Metal Gear are some of the most popular games ever in the West. In addition to being fun to play, these games are also working to introduce international audiences to Asian culture.
Genshin Impact: traditional Chinese culture and language
While Genshin Impact includes some elements taken from the Japanese game the Legend of Zelda, as well as makes references to traditional Japanese culture, it also incorporates plenty of Chinese cultural components. International players can therefore learn about traditional Chinese culture and language as they play. Genshin Impact is also helping to create a positive image of China to the rest of the world. Specifically, Professor Zhang Weiwei of Fudan University notes that “foreigners who play this game will feel that China is not a closed country, not a backward country… It must be a country with a very high level of culture and a very high level of modernization.”
The cultural impact of Pokémon Go
More than just video games, slot games are also helping familiarize the West with Asian culture. By infusing vibrant Asian cultural elements into classic slot games, for example, players gain a positive impression of Asian motifs, heritage, and traditions as they play. And, when it comes to mobile gaming, Pokémon Go – created by Nintendo in collaboration with Niantic – is one of the most successful games of all time. Pokémon Go was released in 2016 and instantly became a cultural phenomenon across the West, and remains that way today – it’s been downloaded over one billion times in total. As soon as the game was released, it was common to see people walking around, heads glued to their phones, in search of rare characters. Players even ran through traffic, fell in ponds, and caused a stampede in Central Park. The cultural impact also bled into other areas, with Pokémon-themed drinks suddenly on sale at restaurants, cafes, and bars located near PokéStops.
Asian games are undoubtedly making their cultural impact known in the West. From Genshin Impact to Pokémon Go, Asian games are influencing whole new generations of gamers, while also teaching them about Chinese and Japanese culture.