• August 24, 2017
Grinding Gear Games launched Path of Exile to the Chinese market at a themed event in Shanghai. Photo: supplied
Auckland-based company Grinding Gear Games took a step onto the world stage this week, releasing its popular title Path of Exile into the largest emerging market on the planet – China.
Founded in 2006, the company has spent the past four years updating the online world of Path of Exile, which is played by 16 million people worldwide.
The game was released in China on Tuesday, a significant move, because the number of Chinese gamers is larger than the total population of the United States and United Kingdom combined.
The Chinese government has recently relaxed its censorship laws, lifting a 14-year ban on western gaming consoles earlier this year.
Tomorrow the game is due to also be released on Xbox One consoles globally, giving access to a further 50 million potential players.
Overall, the game's potential audience will increase by more than 300 million this week.
The game is free to play, with the option of spending money on cosmetic extras that have no effect on the gameplay.
The business model has a lot to do with the company's success, said Gameplanet editor, Matt Maguire.
“If you’re spending money in the game, it isn’t giving you an advantage over other players . . . People feel like they aren’t getting ripped off playing it.”
Mr Maguire said Path of Exile had succeeded despite strong competition.
“It’s quite amazing what they’ve done. They’ve gone up against massive international companies making incredibly similar games.”
One such company is Blizzard, makers of World of Warcraft, whose Diablo series is much in the same vein as Path of Exile.
Path of Exile has competed with Diablo critically, being awarded gamespot’s PC Game of the Year award.
Seventy-six thousand viewers streamed the launch of Path of Exile’s latest content update on gaming site Twitch.com this month, compared to just 2600 at the same time for Diablo.
Over the past year, the online audience for the game logged an impressive 4490 years worth of combined viewing time on Twitch.com alone.
Grinding Gear Games representatives were unavailable for comment.