I am convinced that I have died and gone to hell. Last night, the official Genshin Impact Twitter account tweeted a contest in which the rewards included inviting billionaire CEO Elon Musk to developer miHoYo’s corporate headquarters in Shanghai. Clearly, I’m not alone in feeling this way, and the contest was rapidly canceled as fans made their feelings about it known.
Sometime before announcing the contest, the Genshin Impact account changed its display name from “Paimon,” the guide fairy who aids players during the main quest, to “Genshin Impact.”
The account then posted an image with the following text at around 10 PM ET.
Follow Ella Musk @Paimon2themoon
When 500k fans follow, @GenshinImpact will be renamed back to Paimon
When 1M fans follow, @GenshinImpact will follow @elonmusk
When 3M fans follow, @GenshinImpact will invite @elonmusk to stream Genshin Impact
When 5M fans follow, CEO Dawei will invite Elon Musk to visit miHoYo HQ
I’m not against corporate collabs, actually. The KFC collaboration where Chinese players got red-and-white wings in the game was cool. But this? This is just pure cringe.
Elon Musk is a tech billionaire who recently became the wealthiest person in the world. He is most widely known as the CEO Of Tesla Motors and SpaceX. He’s also caused controversy by spreading pandemic misinformation, threatening union organizers, calling a Thai cave rescuer a ‘pedophile,’ and being asked to stop tweeting by a federal agency.
The Ella Musk Twitter account, named after a quest NPC in Genshin Impact, appears to be a promotional tool for showcasing Genshin Impact fan creators. In the game, Ella Musk is a young girl who studies the language used by Hilichurls (a Genshin Impact enemy that resembles Breath of the Wild’s Bokoblins). Before this bizarre collaboration attempt, there were no links between her and the tech billionaire.
And frankly, nobody wanted a collaboration between Elon Musk and their beloved gacha game. By the time that the Genshin Impact account deleted the contest tweet, it had already accumulated roughly 20,000 quote retweets, which is generally not a great sign. Most responses from the player base were overwhelmingly negative. Some pointed out that the attempted crossover was a massive reach, since Elon Musk is more well-known for being a billionaire than a gamer. Others were just unimpressed by annoying billionaires. Most fans felt that the community team was “out of touch” with the Genshin community.
The social media manager seemed to get the message eventually. At around 2 AM ET, the contest tweet was deleted from the Genshin Impact account.
At 3:57 AM ET, Elon Musk tweeted that he wanted to be a character in Genshin Impact:
I can forgive miHoYo if it never acknowledges this incident ever again. No amount of Twitter clout is worth giving Elon Musk more social media relevance than he already has. And I know that most of the Genshin community feels the exact same way.