• "Genshin Impact" is a gacha game developed by the Chinese gaming studio MiHoYo
  • The game has forked around $2 billion since its release in September 2020
  • "Gacha" is a Japanese term used for a vending machine that dispenses random toys

A father in Singapore was bewildered when he received a call from his bank informing him of a missed payment of almost $20,000 overdue on his credit card, which was billed with 89 mysterious transactions.

Mr. Lim Cheng Mong was very puzzled when he received the call and at first thought he was a victim of a scam. However, the credit card company claimed that all of those transactions charged to his credit card were "legitimate and there was nothing it could do," The Straights Times reported.

Mr. Lim, 56, who worked as a product manager for a German company, investigated the transactions and was led to his 18-year-old's daughter Grab account. He had previously tied his daughter's Grab account to his credit card so she could use it for her transportation expenses.

Shenhe - Genshin Impact
Shenhe - Genshin Impact miHoYo

Unknown to Mr. Lim, his daughter had linked her account to the hit gacha game "Genshin Impact" and went on a shopping spree on in-game purchases between August and October 2021 to upgrade her character. The payments were made to Coda Payments and Apple's App Store.

"I told her off and said it was a lot of money – one year’s worth of school fees if she were to go to an overseas university." Mr. Lim said.

This is not the first incident where children spent their parents' savings on video games' microtransactions. Over the years, gacha games have received backlash because their mechanics are said to be similar to gambling. The term "gacha" is a Japanese word, which refers to a vending machine that dispenses random toys.

"Genshin Impact" is an open-world free-to-play game that has earned more than $2 billion since its release in September 2020. The game allows players to hasten the in-game progress of their characters by paying real money for a chance to redeem better characters, weapons and other items through its various event banners.

Following the incident, Mr. Lim has recovered around $10,000 from his credit card issuing bank. According to him, the refund was an act of goodwill from the bank.

He also advised his 21-year-old son, who is also a gamer, that he will not help him pay for anything related to online gaming services. The father hopes that authorities and companies will review the rules of online transactions, particularly in cases that involve minors.