Wuthering Waves: Revenue in first week reflects rough reception

HoYoverse comfortably holds the top, Arknights has a stellar month
Kuro Games

Observers of the gacha game genre were keen on seeing whether Kuro Games could take a slice of the lucrative pie with Wuthering Waves, its open-world RPG that’s heavily inspired by Genshin Impact. However, the game’s rough launch left fans disappointed due to its technical problems, performance issues, lacking presentation, and a divisive story. The developers tried their best to control the damage, announcing a host of upcoming changes to address players’ grievances and giving out free currency and limited characters as compensation, though their struggles are clearly being reflected in Wuthering Waves’ earnings for the first week.

Gacha Revenue, based on data from Sensor Tower, reported an estimated worldwide revenue of around $24.8 million USD for Wuthering Waves in its first week on mobile, which falls far short of even the most conservative estimates for the launch weeks of Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, which go up to five times that amount.

Speaking of HoYoverse’s two golden geese, they comfortably held the first and second place in the revenue rankings for May 2024, though the numbers for both fell considerably in comparison to April – which is no surprise: Genshin Impact’s current banners are widely considered to be probably the worst in the game’s history with two male characters who are available for the third time. Both games are headed for a massive June with highly anticipated characters coming in the form of Clorinde for Genshin Impact and Firefly for Honkai: Star Rail.

Genshin Impact screenshot of Clorinde's Elemental Burst.
Clorinde, a powerful DPS character, is leading the Genshin Impact 4.7 banners. / HoYoverse

Solo Leveling: Arise, a gacha game based on last season’s anime, which itself is based on a Korean manhwa, debuted with close to $40 million USD revenue in May 2024, while Arknights managed a massive jump of eight ranks, making about $44.6 million USD last month thanks to an anniversary and the release of some extremely powerful characters.

Naruto Mobile as well as otome gacha Love and Deepspace landed ahead of Wuthering Waves as well. It’s worth noting that all of these revenue numbers are estimated and mobile-only.

Comparing its launch with some other recent gacha games, the issue becomes even clearer – we’re looking at the Chinese sales rankings on iOS for this. Wuthering Waves debuted on #9 and then steadily fell down, reaching #22 at the end of its first week. Tower of Fantasy, which was hyped to be a “Genshin Impact-killer” by the same league of content creators who tried to style Wuthering Waves that way and was widely regarded as a flop when it launched, entered the sales ranking at #8 before improving to #4 at the end of its first week.

Things are even worse in the important Japanese market, where Wuthering Waves only entered the top ten of the same ranking once in its first week, ending it at #29.

It bears repeating that these are estimates and don’t show the complete picture, but it’s enough data to get an overview of which titles do well and which don’t – and Wuthering Waves clearly isn’t having the launch it expected.

It’s certainly not impossible to turn things around, as some parts of the game are very strong and will surely retain players, but with HoYoverse launching Zenless Zone Zero in July 2024 on top of the merciless update cycle for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, Kuro Games may already have missed its best chance to make a good impression and gain a foothold.


Published
Marco Wutz

MARCO WUTZ

Marco Wutz is a writer from Parkstetten, Germany. He has a degree in Ancient History and a particular love for real-time and turn-based strategy games like StarCraft, Age of Empires, Total War, Age of Wonders, Crusader Kings, and Civilization as well as a soft spot for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. He began covering StarCraft 2 as a writer in 2011 for the largest German community around the game and hosted a live tournament on a stage at gamescom 2014 before he went on to work for Bonjwa, one of the country's biggest Twitch channels. He branched out to write in English in 2015 by joining tl.net, the global center of the StarCraft scene run by Team Liquid, which was nominated as the Best Coverage Website of the Year at the Esports Industry Awards in 2017. He worked as a translator on The Crusader Stands Watch, a biography in memory of Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka, and provided live coverage of many StarCraft 2 events on the social channels of tl.net as well as DreamHack, the world's largest gaming festival. From there, he transitioned into writing about the games industry in general after his graduation, joining GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage for media partners across the globe, in 2021. He has also written for NGL.ONE, kicker, ComputerBild, USA Today's ForTheWin, The Sun, Men's Journal, and Parade. Email: marco.wutz@glhf.gg