Just FYI, your 'Genshin Impact' pulls are funding a tokamak nuclear fusion reactor, and it has now been ignited 🔥

Genshin Impact
(Image credit: MiHoYo)

What you need to know

  • Genshin Impact is one of the most popular PC games in the world. 
  • A free-to-play "gatcha" game, Genshin Impact allows players to collect dozens of anime-styled heroes and is frequently updated with large story beats and new areas. 
  • Developer MiHoYo invested $65 million dollars into nuclear fusion technology a couple of years ago. 
  • The fruits of those labors are now being realized, as MiHoYo's very own tokamak fusion reactor has been ignited. 
  • Tokamak fusion reactors are widely regarded as the holy grail of energy generation. If perfected, the technology could provide "infinite" power generation without harmful byproducts like carbon emissions. 

A couple of years ago, Daniel Ahmad of Niko Partners reported that MiHoYo of Genshin Impact fame had invested $65 million into the ultimate clean energy project. And now, the investment has begun bearing fruit. 

Genshin Impact is one of the most popular PC games in the entire world. A free-to-play "gatcha" game, players can collect dozens of anime-styled heroes, earning in-game currency by playing or purchasing for chances to unlock them. Genshin Impact's popularity stems from its live service, which is frequently updated with large, high-quality story content patches, on top of new playable areas, similar to titles like World of Warcraft and the like. Unlike World of Warcraft, though, Genshin Impact is using some of its profits to fund nuclear fusion technology. 

Widely regarded as the "holy grail" of energy generation, tokamak fusion reactors use massive donut-shaped magnets to super-heat plasma (10 times hotter than the center of the sun, in fact), in order to recreate sun-like fusion reactions. The heat generated is then absorbed by the tokamak, and then used to power a turbine, leaving only steam as a byproduct. MiHoYo's very own tokamak fusion reactor has now been activated. 

MiHoYo's fusion reactor is in partnership with Shanghai-based Energy Singularity, and according to local news reports, the tokamak is now generating plasma reactions for the first time. 

As of writing, tokamak fusion reactors have generally not been commercially viable. Right now, they require more energy to power than you yield in return, which is obviously not the goal. However, the technology is gradually getting better. Various companies across the world are collaborating to make the technology a reality, given that it would eliminate global fuel poverty, carbon emissions, and solve humanity's energy needs in perpetuity, if perfected. The UK's Tokamak Energy company recently achieved a plasma temperature of 100 million Celsius, which is the threshold for commercializing the technology and represents a world-first for an independent fusion company. China, America, and France are all heavy investors in researching the technology as well. 

For companies like MiHoYo, and indeed Microsoft, who use mountains of cloud compute to power their operations, sustainable energy generation efforts like this are becoming increasingly interesting. 

How the Heart of ITER will Electrify Plasma - YouTube How the Heart of ITER will Electrify Plasma - YouTube
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Microsoft itself has been criticized for the amount of power and water required to cool its Azure data centers. Microsoft has pledged to become carbon negative by 2040, although the recent AI boom for services like ChatGPT and Windows Copilot, all powered by Azure, might throw a wrench in the works. Microsoft is a massive investor in green carbon credits, by which is funds climatological projects which "offset" its own energy needs, but these carbon credit programs are often criticized as just borrowing time from the future — at the cost of today's emissions.

Tokamak fusion reactors would solve Azure's energy needs over night, if it was perfected, although there's no evidence right now that Microsoft is actively exploring this kind of technology for its own needs. Perhaps MiHoYo can show them the way?

Genshin Impact (free)

Genshin Impact (free)

Collect dozens of anime-styled super heroes in this wildly popular action RPG. Save the world in-game, and maybe in real life too, with proceeds being invested in fusion reactor technology. 

Available on PlayStation, PC, and mobile devices. 

See at: Hoyoverse

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!