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Genshin Impact developer tells fans it’s OK to make merch

Body pillow makers, rejoice!

Barbara poses on the beach in a summer outfit Image: Mihoyo
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Fan creators making merchandise that uses characters from Mihoyo’s popular anime-fueled game Genshin Impact can breathe a sigh of relief. That’s because the game’s developer provided clear-cut guidelines on Tuesday that outline how fans can and can’t use their characters in fan-made products.

According to Mihoyo, fans are “free to create original secondary content from already published content of the Genshin Impact series and produce physical merchandise to give away or sell,” according to the developers. There are, of course, exceptions: Sellers can’t violate relevant laws, for example, and the products can’t “harm the reputation of Genshin Impact or miHoYo.”

It’s meaningful because companies don’t always clearly say what is or isn’t allowed in regard to using their content. What’s more, the company explicitly said that it’s OK for fans to make physical merchandise to sell. This will allow fans to proceed with making certain kinds of fan content confidently — without the looming concern that the company will hit them with a cease and desist order.

That being said, it’s not exactly a free for all. Individual fans can make whatever they want, but online sales can’t exceed 500 units of the product. If a person anticipates that they’ll end up selling more, then they’ll need prior authorization from Mihoyo. If you’re selling items as a fan group, you can only sell 200 units of merchandise.

It’s restrictive, but these are clear rules for creators to follow. Some makers online have already responded, commenting on how it will impact their work, with one user saying, “I genuinely thought I had to stop creating stickers... Thankfully [Mihoyo] is really kind.”

This isn’t the first time Mihoyo has opened up its characters to fan projects. In 2020, the company released the official models of its cast for fans to use. Since then, people have used the models to make music videos and TikToks using their favorite characters — like Baal from the 2.0 update.

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