The world’s biggest game company is teaming up with the studio behind the game with the world’s biggest skill tree.
Tencent has agreed to distribute and localize Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile in China. The gaming giant, which owns a majority stake in League of Legends maker Riot Games and a minority stake in Epic Games, will begin alpha tests for this online action-role-playing game in May. This could bring a flood of new people to already popular free-to-play release, which has 16 million active players worldwide, an impressive feat in the $99.3 billion global game market.
“We’ve been actively working to find an appropriate publisher in China for several years now. We’re really excited to have partnered with Tencent, as they are the most powerful publisher in the region,” Grinding Gear Games general manager Chris Wilson said.
Tencent, which is also an Internet provider in China and runs the popular QQ messaging and WeChat mobile chat services, is the No. 1 public game company in the world in terms of revenue. It operates a number of online and mobile games in China. According to market research firm SuperData, Tencent’s Crossfire is the No. 2 free-to-play game in the world.
It will now use that know-how on helping Path of Exile make money in China. But unlike other free-to-play games, where microtransactions are about buying items and in-game currency that tend to give you an advantage over other players, Grinding Gear’s online ARPG sells items and effects that are cosmetic. These are all about how your character’s gear and abilities look, not about their power.