Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile: From New Zealand to China and Tencent’s Embrace


This blog takes a look at how the Indie Studio, Grinding Gear Games, Crafted a Masterpiece that Conquered China and Caught the Eye of Tencent.

The story of “Path of Exile” is a remarkable one, showcasing the rise of Grinding Gear Games, an indie game studio from New Zealand, to global prominence. It culminated in its acquisition by one of the world’s tech giants, Tencent. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating journey of Grinding Gear Games’ action role-playing game (ARPG), “Path of Exile,” and explore how its release in China played a pivotal role in its success and the eventual partnership with Tencent.

The Birth of Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile

Path of Exile,” often referred to as PoE by its passionate community, was the brainchild of Chris Wilson, who founded Grinding Gear Games in 2006. The game’s development began with a small team of dedicated individuals in Auckland, New Zealand. From the outset, their vision was clear: to create an ARPG that would stand out in a genre dominated by giants like the “Diablo” series.

The game’s gritty and dark aesthetic, deep character customization, intricate skill tree, and emphasis on player-driven economy set it apart. Grinding Gear Games wanted to offer players an experience that was both challenging and rewarding, where every decision had consequences.

The Road to Global Success for Grinding Gear Games and Path of Exile

Path of Exile” officially launched as a free-to-play game in October 2013, garnering attention for its unique approach to the ARPG genre. Players worldwide embraced the complexity of the game, reveling in the challenge it presented. Its success led to a thriving player base and a continuous stream of content updates and expansions.

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However, the game’s journey to becoming a global sensation took an unexpected turn when it ventured into the vast and diverse market of China.

The China Connection: Grinding Gear Games and Path of Exile

In 2016, Grinding Gear Games partnered with Tencent, one of China’s tech giants, to bring “Path of Exile” to the Chinese market. This partnership was a strategic move to tap into China’s massive gaming community, which was hungry for high-quality online gaming experiences.

“Path of Exile’s” release in China was met with enthusiasm and quickly gained a substantial player base. Its success in the region was a testament to the game’s universal appeal and Grinding Gear Games’ commitment to delivering a top-notch gaming experience.

Tencent’s Acquisition: A Milestone for Grinding Gear Games

Tencent’s collaboration with Grinding Gear Games in publishing “Path of Exile” in China was not just a business partnership; it was a strategic move to strengthen its presence in the global gaming industry. Impressed by the game’s success and Grinding Gear Games’ dedication, Tencent saw an opportunity to invest further.

In May 2018, Tencent acquired a majority stake in Grinding Gear Games. This acquisition allowed the studio to maintain its independence and creative control while benefiting from Tencent’s vast resources and expertise in the gaming industry. It was a win-win situation that ensured the game’s continued growth and development.

The Global Impact of Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile

Today, “Path of Exile” stands as one of the most successful and enduring free-to-play ARPGs globally. Its journey, from a small indie studio’s dream to a global sensation with millions of players, serves as an inspiration to aspiring game developers worldwide.

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The partnership with Tencent not only ensured the game’s financial stability but also opened doors to new markets and opportunities. “Path of Exile” continues to thrive with regular expansions, updates, and a dedicated player community.

Grinding Gear Games’ Unstoppable Journey

“Path of Exile” is a testament to the power of a compelling game concept, dedicated development, and a partnership that bridged continents. Grinding Gear Games’ journey, from New Zealand to China and into the arms of Tencent, is a story of ambition, perseverance, and the global impact of a game that captured the hearts of players worldwide.

As “Path of Exile” continues to evolve and expand, it remains a shining example of what can be achieved when a talented team dares to tread the path less traveled in the world of gaming. The game’s future is bright, and its journey is far from over, promising new adventures for players and enthusiasts alike. Grinding Gear Games has carved its name into the annals of gaming history, and the path ahead is filled with exciting possibilities.


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