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Genshin Impact developer MiHoYo announced this week that it is permitting players and fans to produce original secondary content based on its popular mobile action RPG. More surprisingly, the studio is allowing content creators to sell that merch.
Genshin Impact features a large cast of playable characters, which can be unlocked through gacha mechanics. The game saw over 20 million downloads in its first week of release. By the end of its first year of release it generated $2 billion in revenue.
According to its guidelines, fan art and fan fiction artists don’t even need to declare their creations to MiHoYo, but things that might compete with official merchandise like figurines do. If a writer or an artist wants to take a commission to produce Genshin Impact creative works they can just do it.
Additionally there are a number of fairly obvious restrictions against modifications to official merchandise and counterfeiting.
Game companies have a variety of perspectives about fan content. Nintendo is notorious among fans for its aggressive take-down policies. In January, it issued a mass DMCA takedown against 379 fan-games. In August the fan project known as Prime 2D was killed by ‘a certain games-related company’.
The shut down of Hand Drawn Game Guides in September is perhaps the most relevant. Hand Drawn Game Guides was a Kickstarter project that aimed to create guide books for games like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, and Contra.
As a fan project inspired by Nintendo games it wasn’t overly surprising when the cease-and-desist dropped. Had it been a year later and inspired by Genshin Impact, it not only wouldn’t have been an issue, it could have been entirely above board.
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