By now, most of us know Genshin Impact developer miHoYo has big plans for their future. They told us as much last month when CEO Cai Haoyu discussed the projected operating costs for Genshin Impact — as well as the fact that they hope to “create a virtual world in which one billion people worldwide are willing to live” by 2030. That’s a lot of people, and (despite what our brains may be telling us) 2030 is not really all that far off.
Of course, what exactly this “virtual world” will look like or entail wasn’t expanded upon. Although, it’s pretty much a given that Genshin Impact will be involved.
Interestingly, we may have a clue about what to expect now. Today, Daniel Ahmad, Senior Analyst at Niko Partners dropped a tweet revealing a partnership between the gaming company and the Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine at Ruijin Hospital. As with the “virtual world” statement, there’s not a lot of information about this partnership yet. What we do know is that they’ve put together a lab dedicated to brain-computer interface technology and now neuromodulation therapy can be used to treat depression. They also plan to expand on this to explore creating new types of therapies using medical and technological research.
MiHoYo (Genshin Impact) and the Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine (Ruijin Hospital) have set up a joint lab to explore the application of brain-computer interface technology.
Current project is focused on neuromodulation therapy to treat depression. pic.twitter.com/2zpFXmMD53
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) March 8, 2021
Ahmad also linked to an article from The Star discussing research already being done at Shangai Jiaotong University that passed ethical reviews last year. This appears to be the same project, using neuromodulation to treat depressed patients. The process requires implanting electrode chips in patients’ brains that will adjust nervous system activity as needed. They’re designed for patients that have not had successful results with more traditional types of medicine.
It’s possible that this same tech could later be used in gaming, offering players an easier way to “live” in the virtual world miHoYo hopes to create. Of course, the whole thing has a bit of a “mixed bag” feel to it, one that’s going to feel familiar to any fan of cyberpunk and general future dystopia fiction. That said, it is something that could really help people in need, and miHoYo’s tagline is “Tech Otakus Save the World.” So, maybe they’re just trying to do that.