Grinding Gear Games, developers of action-RPG Path of Exile, have announced that the Chinese publisher Tencent have bought a controlling stake in the company. Tencent have bought controlling interest of 80% of Grinding Gear Games, making them the majority owner in the company.
Path of Exile has been something of a darling of the free to play scene for some years now, with happy gamers eager to use it as an example of that model being done the right way. The game has released several free DLCs, has a strong “no pay to win” ethos, and has been strongly embraced by its community. It currently boasts a “very positive” rating on Steam, which is great for a free to play game.
As for Tencent, they are the Chinese publishers who you have more than likely been a customer of without realizing. Tencent own Riot Games, have a large stake in Epic Games, and have small stakes in companies like Ubisoft and Frontier Developments.
Grinding Gear Games have been very up front about what this means for the players, and are sending a strong message that everything will continue in the same way that they are used to. The game will not suddenly become pay to play, or pay to win. Tencent normally leave all that stuff up to the developers themselves, and may request some special features for the Chinese version. Most of the time, strong features are then rolled out globally anyway.
One of the main reasons that Grinding Gear Games were interesting in finally accepting one of the many offers for investment that they seem to have had over the years, is that it will secure further resources to make Path of Exile the best game it can possibly be. This includes being able to hire more developers to work on the game, continued expansions to flesh out the world, and continuing to deliver the gameplay experience that so many players have fallen in love with.