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Honkai: Star Rail was released by miHoYo on 26 April 2023 on PC, iOS, Android, and PlayStation 4 and 5. The numbers are trickling in and it is crazy how it has trumped the record set by Genshin Impact from the same developer. According to a post on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo by Daniel Ahmad, the director of research and insight at Niko Partners, the game surpassed 20 million downloads in 24 hours.

“It’s already broken records by reaching no.1 on the iOS game download chart in more countries than any prior game,” Ahmad wrote on Twitter.

miHoYo might have just found the secret to making hit games. In 2020, the Shanghai, China-based developer released Genshin Impact which broke video game records by grossing over $3 billion in its first release year. As of March 2022, that number had swelled to $4 billion.

Honkai: Star Rail

To put the comparison into context, App Annie, a mobile analytics company said it took Genshin Impact four days after release to get 17 million downloads. Honkai: Star Rail smashed that number in 24 hours. However, not everyone was surprised. Ahmad said the signs that Honkai: Star Rail would be a bigger hit than Genshin Impact was always there.

Honkai: Star Rail, a turn-based RPG got 30 million pre-registrations prior to the launch. About 20 million out of that number came from China. While the remaining 10 million were unevenly distributed across the rest of the world.

Honkai: Star Rail may likely be feeding off the success of Genshin Impact. Following the success of Genshin Impact, many gamers have been looking forward to the next game from the developer. However, miHoYo has also done a lot to create buzz around the new game prior to release.

Honkai: Star Rail got a hero’s reception in China

Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai: Star Rail got its publishing license from Beijing in January after authorities ended the blockade on game approvals imposed in 2021. At that time, authorities accused the gaming sector for the rising instances of gaming addiction among youths in the country.

Game approvals resumed in April 2022 including for flagship titles from industry giants NetEase and Tencent Holdings. Both companies are now gearing up for big launches in the summer.

“[This year] is set to be a strong growth year for Chinese gaming companies, especially those that have obtained licenses for blockbuster titles,” said Ivan Su, an analyst with Morningstar.

It was believed that the crackdown’s main target was Tencent, one of the leading gaming companies in the world. However, in February 2023, Tencent released a new shooting game titled “Undawn” that featured Will Smith, the U.S. movie legend, as its ambassador.

The game has earned over $20 million since its launch. Tencent is also working to establish an esports league in China for its upcoming game “Valorant”.

Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai: Star Rail has become the most downloaded app in China. In just 5 hours, the game amassed 1.6 million downloads in China after its release on April 26.

According to data from App Magic, the game also got 5.8 million smartphone downloads across the globe. It quickly became the most downloaded game on Apple devices across 21 markets including Japan and the United States as reported by data firm SensorTower.

Honkai: Star Rail introduced AI for NPCs

Honkai: Star Rail

The development of Honkai: Star Rail began in 2019 with about 500 people in the team at the peak of development. This was revealed by the game’s producer David Jiang during a recent interview with a Japanese esports media outlet.

Rather than a beat-them-up action, the team decided to make the game into a turn-based strategy role-playing game to accommodate players that were not used to hack-and-slash fast-paced action games. Also, the game was designed to share a resemblance with animated television series. The gameplay and storyline are expected to be updated every six weeks.

MiHoYo has also started experimenting with artificial intelligence in its games. Consequently, players can interact with non-playable characters (NPCs) which are powered by AI. The use of AI allows the NPCs to behave in a dynamic way.

Honkai: Star Rail has now toppled Player Unknown Battleground (PUGB) as the most downloaded game on Apple App Store.

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Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.

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