MiHoYo has found fame as the developer behind the wildly popular Genshin Impact, a gacha game known for its distinctive art style and memorable characters that have inspired tribal loyalty, simping, and fan art. But did you know that the Shanghai-based game studio is also an investor in cutting-edge technology?
Last year, MiHoYo and Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine set up a joint laboratory to investigate brain-computer interface technology and how it could be applied to treat, for example, depression using neuromodulation therapy. If this sounds very futuristic then MiHoYo is now pushing it even further as it has invested in nuclear fusion technology.
MiHoYo has been around since 2012, but Genshin Impact – which launched in September 2020 – was its first global success and has helped developers make billions since then. In its first year, for example, Genshin Impact made over $2 billion alone, from mobile only, and the game has since expanded to PC and console versions. And it looks like MiHoYo is using some of these funds to invest in advanced technology R&D.
Alongside Chinese investment firm NIO Capital, MiHoYo has led a $63 million funding round for a company called Energy Singularity. These funds will be used for research and development of small tokamak devices. But what is tokamak?I heard you cry.
It is related to nuclear fusion, which is the holy grail for energy production. Fusion reactors work by crushing atoms together to create new elements, such as artificial stars, and that’s exactly what happens in the core of our own sun. The energy released by this process is enormous, and will provide abundant electricity, and what’s more, it will produce no greenhouse gases and very little waste. Current nuclear reactors rely on nuclear fission, which produces energy by tearing apart large atoms, such as uranium and plutonium, but fusion is cleaner and much more powerful. Vox has good explanation throughout the nuclear fusion process.
The Tokamak is a design concept for nuclear fusion and what is considered – by the boffins who know this – to be the most easily achievable nuclear fusion design. In a tokamak, the plasma is held in place using a magnetic field in a torus – a donut shape – which aids the process of breaking atoms together as the plasma is confined within this tiny space.
Energy Singularity, which consists of scientists and researchers such as Stanford, Princeton, Peking, Tsinghua, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, hopes to build a tokamak device by 2024. It looks like this investment will help MiHoYo fulfill its function. the company’s motto, namely “Tek otakus save the world”.
If Energy Singularity succeeded in breaking nuclear fusion, then all the grinding in Genshin would probably pay off.
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