- The official Genshin Impact account tweeted and deleted a series of challenges involving Elon Musk.
- The tweet promised rewards like inviting Musk to stream the game and following him on Twitter.
- Musk responded to discourse around the challenge, tweeting “can’t wait to be in Genshin Impact.”
On Thursday, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he couldn’t “wait to be in Genshin Impact” after the official account for the video game tweeted (and later deleted) a bizarre series of follower-count challenges that listed inviting Musk to developer miHoYo’s headquarters as a possible reward.
Genshin Impact is an incredibly popular open-world video game that launched in 2020. While free-to-play, it features gacha elements in which players can purchase in-game credits with real money and gamble to receive exclusive characters and items. The game has generated at least approximately $2 billion in revenue from Apple’s App Store and Google Play store alone, app analysis firm Sensor Tower estimated in September (the game is also available on PC and PlayStation).
In the since-deleted tweet, which was published on Wednesday, the official Genshin Impact account (@GenshinImpact) encouraged players to follow a side account associated with a non-playable character from the game named Ella Musk, who is a young linguist the player occasionally interacts with for quests.
The account bears the handle @Paimon2theMoon, seemingly a reference both to Paimon, Genshin Impact’s mascot character, and miHoYo’s first game, FlyMe2theMoon. Coincidental or not, it also ties into a cryptocurrency slang phrase that the real-life Elon Musk has referenced in the past. The account has tweeted six times, calling itself “Elon’s Daughter” in a September 7 post.
—Ella Musk (@Paimon2theMoon) September 7, 2021
The tweet, originally posted Wednesday night, lists rewards — some of which were tied to thresholds higher than the main @GenshinImapct’s current follower count of 2.4 million — that included following Elon Musk on Twitter, inviting him to stream Genshin Impact, and personally inviting him to visit the Chinese headquarters of miHoYo, the company that develops the game.
Players and fans quickly responded to the tweet, and not in a positive way. In tweets, some questioned why people would want Elon in the game, while others hypothesized that the tweet being ratioed (receiving a disproportionate amount of negative replies and quote retweets) had led to the @GenshinImpact account deleting it.
Kotaku reported that at approximately 2:00 a.m. ET, the tweet was taken down. On Thursday morning, “Elon Musk” was trending on Twitter in relation to the controversy and the fact that Musk referenced it in a tweet overnight.
“Can’t wait to be in Genshin Impact,” Musk tweeted at 3:57 a.m. ET, accompanied by a crying laughing emoji.
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 14, 2021
It’s unclear if Musk had any prior awareness of the community challenge before the tweet. However, it’s worth noting that the rewards listed were not guarantees that Musk would stream Genshin Impact or visit miHoYo headquarters — rather, they were promises that the company would extend the invitation to do so.
Genshin Impact and miHoYo have previously sustained backlash from the game’s fanbase, most recently in relation to the game’s first anniversary rewards, which some players felt were unsatisfactory (in a statement to GamesRadar, miHoYo said that it was taking the feedback into account). Earlier this year, fans trended #BoycottGenshin on Twitter, citing allegations of colorism, the game’s gambling mechanics, and a clip that showed an animator referencing footage of indigenous people dancing while working on hilichurls, a kind of in-game monsters.
When reached for comment, the public email address for Genshin Impact/miHoYo responded, possibly automatically, with a blank email that featured the Genshin Impact logo in its footer. It did not immediately respond to Insider’s follow-up email.
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