The #BoycottGenshin Hashtag Explained | campus.sg

Genshin Impact
via miHoYo

Genshin Impact was one of those games that made a huge impact since its release last year. This open-world action RPG, developed and published by China-based miHoYo, is a free-to-play game that uses gacha game monetisation whenever players want to obtain new characters, weapons, or other resources.

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The game was so popular that it made over US $1 billion in mobile revenue in just 6 months since it launched – it’s the shortest period of time for a game on the App Store and Google Play to hit that record, according to Sensor Tower. While this proves that it was a hugely popular hit, there’s been some minor controversy online which has baffled some users: why is the #BoycottGenshin hashtag trending on Twitter?

Why the boycott?

Usually when a boycott hashtag is trending, it’s because someone wants to ‘cancel’ the game – however, fans of the game have argued it’s not the case. Rather, they’re just getting miHoYo – the developer – to improve its representation, among other things.

There’s a few email templates going around on Twitter accompanying the #BoycottGenshin hashtag, which addresses a number of issues with the game, and with the developer itself. The letter served to address certain issues which have been ignored, despite complaints being made. They include:

Game security complaints (2FA)

According to many players, the game’s account security is horrible and this is not a new complaint. Apparently, it’s currently very easy for players to have their accounts hacked and messed with, and many players have repeatedly asked for two-factor authentication (2FA) on the game for new logins to improve its security. Despite the mass feedback, it appears that not only has the company not taken 2FA onboard, it has taken no action whenever an account is hacked, despite many complaints.

Racism within the game

Some users have pointed out that many of the “enemies” within the game, especially Hilichurls, are inspired by indigenous people. Users have pointed out that this not only disrespects their culture, it demonises indigenous people. In an age where we have increased hate crimes based on race (like Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate), it’s probably a valid concern.

The in-game racism also apparently spills into its playable characters, which has been criticised to be “whitewashed”. The only two playable characters who are of a slightly darker skin are Kaeya and Xinyan, who are described as “exotic” and “scary” respectively, and have apparently had colourist remarks about them made by other characters. Players argued that this can push the narrative that it’s fair game to discriminate against darker-skinned individuals.

Pedophilia in the case of Ulfr and Flora

In the game, the non-player character (NPC) Ulfr, who’s a grown adult, claims to be in love with Flora, who obviously appears as a young child. Many users argue that this is showcasing pedophilia, although users familiar with the beta version of the game have argued that the original Flora was an adult woman who was changed into a child character in the latest version, and Ulfr’s dialog (perhaps mistakenly) didn’t follow the change.

Much ado about nothing?

While many players chimed in their concerns, many others have called the reaction an overreaction. While many players aren’t bothered about the representation, the issue of game security is still a legit concern.

However, players of the game may have read point #6 of their vague T&C, which is in all caps: