On Monday, Chinese game developer HoYoverse announced its first ever international tournament for hit game Genshin Impact, with an event entitled Astra Carnival: The Prince Cup. The qualifying round for the tournament is already underway, with regional games being played over the next few months in Europe, North America, South America, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia.

Why it matters: This is the first international tournament to be held by HoYoverse and marks the Chinese game developer’s first foray into e-sports. Genshin Impact has been hugely  popular since launching worldwide in September 2020.

Details: Astra Carnival: The Prince Cup will bring together players from across the globe to compete for a prize pool of $270,000. Three cross-regional invitational tournaments are scheduled to take place in June, August, and December.

  • The tournament will be based around Genius Invokation TCG, the card game mode of Genshin Impact. Genius Invokation TCG released its  game version 3.3 in December 2022 based on the Genshin Universe, using existing lore, quests, and characters. In the latest Genshin Impact 3.7 version update, released on May 24, over 60 new cards and two game modes have been added.
  • The trading card game uses turn-based battles. Players need to build a deck with a combination of three character cards and 30 action cards, and win by knocking down all the opponent’s character cards. 
  • The North America regional competition began on Monday. It will run until June 17, with 32 players battling it out in online qualification matches. The top eight will be invited to Los Angeles to participate in offline championship matches, with all travel expenses covered, according to HoYoverse’s announcement.
  • HoYoverse has said that the matches will be livestreamed on AstraCarnival’s social media channels, including on Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, and YouTube.

Context: In 2022, there were approximately 50 million players playing Genshin Impact on a monthly basis, according to ActivePlayer

  • By September 2022, two years after its launch, Genshin Impact had generated $3.7 billion in revenue across the App Store and Google Play, making it the third-highest revenue-generating mobile game worldwide, according to Sensor Tower.
  • China’s biggest gaming company Tencent Games has been involved in major tournaments for hit titles such as League of Legends for the past decade. In April, Tencent Games announced the 2023 Honor of Kings International Championship, featuring a prize pool of $10 million, the biggest prize pool ever for a mobile game event.

Jessie Wu is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. She covers consumer electronics, semiconductor, and the gaming industry for TechNode. Connect with her via e-mail: jessie.wu@technode.com.