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Is Genshin Impact Free to Play on PC? The Ultimate Guide

Yes, Genshin Impact is 100% free-to-play on PC.

You can download, install, and play through the entirety of Genshin Impact on PC without spending a single penny. All of the core content including the massive open world, story quests, characters, events, and updates is completely free. Optional in-game purchases are available but not at all required to experience everything Genshin has to offer.

As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I’ve put hundreds of hours into Genshin Impact across PC, mobile, and consoles. In this ultimate guide, I’ll share my insider knowledge to answer all your questions about playing Genshin for free on PC. Let’s dive in!

Downloading Genshin Impact on PC

The first step is downloading the free Genshin Impact game client for PC from the official website or Epic Games store.

Here’s a quick step-by-step process:

  1. Go to genshin.mihoyo.com or the Epic Games store.
  2. Click on the large “Download” button and select PC as your platform.
  3. The game client will begin downloading – the total file size is around 30GB.
  4. Once downloaded, install and launch the game client.
  5. Link your existing HoYoverse account or register for a new free one.
  6. Start exploring the magical world of Teyvat!

The entire process takes less than 10 minutes. In no time at all, you’ll be immersed in Genshin Impact’s living, breathing open world. No credit card required!

Genshin Impact File Size

Due to its massive scope and high-quality assets, Genshin Impact clocks in at a hefty 30GB+ download size.

For comparison, here are some file sizes for other popular free games:

  • Fortnite – 30GB+
  • Call of Duty Warzone – 125GB+
  • Apex Legends – 70GB+

So while Genshin Impact is on the larger side, the file size is comparable to other free titles. Having an SSD and decent internet speeds will help reduce install and update times.

Genshin Impact PC System Requirements

While the Genshin Impact download is free, you will need a PC that meets the minimum system requirements to run the game properly.

Here are the official minimum and recommended system requirements directly from the developers at miHoYo:

Minimum Requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, or Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or equivalent
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 or better
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 30 GB available space

Recommended Requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, or Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 or equivalent
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB or better
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 30 GB available space

As you can see, the requirements are quite reasonable and many mainstream gaming PCs should meet or exceed them. Entry-level discrete graphics cards like the GTX 1050 Ti can reliably run Genshin Impact on medium settings.

According to the Steam hardware survey, over 75% of users have a GTX 1060 or better GPU. So the vast majority of PC gamers can run Genshin Impact smoothly right out of the box.

Customizable Graphics Settings

Genshin Impact provides multiple graphics options to tweak performance:

  • Resolution scaling
  • Texture quality
  • Shadow quality
  • Visual effects
  • Framerate limit
  • And much more

Lowering these settings allows Genshin Impact to run on minimum spec systems and older hardware. My tip is to start on Medium settings and adjust from there based on your setup.

Thanks to this flexibility, just about any modern gaming PC can handle Genshin Impact. But you’ll need at least a GTX 1060 or equivalent GPU to max out the settings and resolution.

Gameplay and Content

Now for the most important part – what content and gameplay can you experience for free in Genshin Impact?

Massive Open World

The heart of Genshin Impact is its enormous open world known as Teyvat. This magical realm features seven unique nations to explore, each with their own themes, environments, cultures and hidden secrets.

Some key highlights:

  • Mondstadt – Rolling green fields and medieval European inspired
  • Liyue – Lush bamboo forests and Chinese landscapes
  • Inazuma – Isolated islands and Japanese mythology
  • Sumeru – Ancient temples and deserts

As a free player you have unlimited access to search every corner of the map, collect treasures, uncover puzzles, and take in the stunning vistas. The world is yours to discover at no cost.

Story Quests

Genshin Impact features an ongoing main story questline broken into multiple acts and chapters. Completing these story quests allows you to…

  • Learn more about the history and lore of Teyvat
  • Meet and befriend a large cast of unique characters
  • Explore new areas as the story progresses
  • Earn free characters, weapons, and other loot

and much more. Plus there are tons of optional world and character side quests to take on for additional adventures and rewards.

As of Version 3.4, the main story has over 60 hours of content across 9 acts. And the story continues to expand with every version update. All of it is playable for free.

Co-op Multiplayer

Genshin Impact supports seamless drop-in/drop-out online co-op multiplayer for up to 4 players. Team up with friends or random players to:

  • Explore the open world together
  • Take on domains, world bosses, dungeons
  • Build dream teams of unique characters
  • Combo your elements and attacks
  • Collect loot and treasures

Co-op is totally free and lets you experience Genshin with others. Cross-play is also supported between PC, consoles, and mobile.

Events and Updates

Genshin Impact sees major updates every 6 weeks adding fresh content. This includes:

  • New story acts and lands to explore
  • Events with special rewards and quests
  • New characters and weapons
  • Abyss changes
  • Currency rewards
  • Minigames and features

As a free player, you have equal access to all new content updates. The developers are committed to large, consistent updates for years to come – all free.

What is Locked Behind Paywalls?

Now you may be wondering – what content is locked behind paywalls? While the bulk of Genshin Impact is free, there are some optional purchases available:

  • Certain characters and weapons – Obtaining 5-star and some 4-star characters/weapons requires the premium gacha
  • Battle Pass – Provides resources and cosmetics for a $10 purchase
  • Genesis Crystals – Direct purchase premium currency for Wishes, Resin, etc
  • Bundles – Special item packs, bonuses, and skins

Think of spending money as “pay-for-fun” rather than “pay-to-win”. You gain access to more characters for team building variety, resources to progress faster, and cosmetic upgrades.

But all content and competitive play remains 100% fair and balanced between free and paying players. No players gain an advantage simply by spending money.

Is Spending Money Required or Pay-to-Win?

The short answer is no – spending in Genshin Impact is completely optional and offers zero pay-to-win benefits.

You never hit a paywall that blocks story progress or locks you out of events/areas. Every new nation, storyline, feature update is playable for free.

Your skill, knowledge and strategy matters far more than money spent. I’ve seen low spenders easily out-DPS whales thanks to skillful play.

Even the Abyss leaderboards are dominated by smart free and low spenders. So don’t feel pressured to spend at all – play smart and you can conquer all challenges and content as free player.

Acquiring Characters as F2P

While getting new characters with the gacha requires luck or money, there are plenty of ways to obtain free characters including:

  • Completing the main story quests
  • Progression/ascension rewards
  • Special events
  • Starter supply summons
  • Standard banner
  • Paimon’s Bargains shop
  • Stardust Exchange
  • Free battle pass weapons

If you explore thoroughly and play consistently, you’ll obtain enough materials, weapons and characters to beat all content as free player.

Some strategies I use to maximize new character unlocks:

  • Exploring 100% each region before moving on
  • Redeeming every free event reward
  • Buying out the monthly Paimon’s Bargains fates
  • Only spending primogems on the promotional banner
  • Crafting 4-star weapons to save rolls

Follow these tips and you’ll assemble strong teams covering all elements and playstyles without spending.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully this guide has given you a detailed overview explaining how Genshin Impact is completely free to play on PC.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Genshin Impact costs $0 upfront to download and play on PC
  • The entire massive open world and 100+ hours of stories/quests are free
  • All new content updates are free – no areas or story locked
  • Optional purchases only accelerate progress and are not pay-to-win
  • You can unlock tons of characters, complete all challenges and content as free player

So what are you waiting for? Join me and millions of other players enjoying this AAA free-to-play masterpiece. See you in Teyvat!

Let me know if you have any other Genshin Impact questions in the comments!