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New ‘Genshin Impact’ merch policy is a huge step forward for fanfic writers

miHoYo embraces both fanart and fanfiction in its latest merch policy, which gives authors the right to profit off Genshin Impact fanfiction.

miHoYo has updated its merchandise policy for Genshin Impact, explicitly stating that up to 500 pieces of fan-made merch are allowed to be sold, with more requiring official authorisation from the company. This is a surprisingly generous move, considering its notoriously stingy in-game rewards.

Genshin Impact is a hugely popular, free, open-world MMO with gacha elements. Since the hyper-successful launch in September 2020, the game has reportedly earned miHoYo a staggering $2 billion – which may be among the reasons for this bit of leniency.

Image: Genshin Tarot | Genshin Impact

According to the post on Hoyolab, “novels and stories written by fans” do not need to be declared to the company, be they for profit or not. This is huge for fan creators, especially fanfiction writers, as fanfiction has long been regarded as a bit of a grey area between creators and fandoms, even more so than fan-made merchandise, which can still be commonly found at conventions and on sites like Etsy.

Although miHoYo is not the first company to authorise fan-made merchandise, it can be agreed that such official permission is rare. Merch artists often walk a thin line in artist alleys, with some companies such as Sanrio, Disney, and FUNimation outright prohibiting the sale of fan merchandise.

“This is different… we can talk to miHoYo. [Previously], they didn’t publicly support [commercial fan artists], but they also weren’t doing anything to prevent us from making fan merch. So we knew there was a healthy attitude towards us. But then they were like, hey, just email us. And that was like: woah… we can do that?” says Brother Ming, the board game designer behind the Genshin Tarot fan project, told Kotaku.

The most heartening part of this, perhaps, is that this means miHoYo is giving fanfiction authors the same amount of recognition it is giving fan artists, something not even fanfiction readers tend to do. Go into the comments section of a popular ongoing fanfic on AO3 and you’ll definitely see at least one rude (or worse, guilt-trippy) comment asking the author to update it faster.

You can read more about the Genshin Impact merch policy here, and if you want to check out the Genshin Tarot project, you can do so here.