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Path of Exile may be in for a Betrayal, but it’s not coming from its players. A studio spokesperson from Grinding Gear Games said today that the free-to-play online action-role-playing game set a new mark for concurrent players.

The Betrayal expansion launched December 6 on PC, and Path of Exile reached about 189,000 players. Two-thirds of them are coming from Steam, a spokesperson said. This is a 28 percent increase over the previous expansion high. This shows studios that put out regular content updates with new storylines, character options, items, and loot have a good chance of seeing a flood of returning players — and maybe some new ones, too. The previous high for concurrent players came with the launch of the Fall of Oriath expansion in August 2017.

And according to the eSports Observer, Path of Exile was the 9th-most watched game on Twitch, the dominant livestreaming service in gaming, putting it ahead of Warframe and behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Why Path of Exile matters

Path of Exile has been a success for Grinding Gear Games. The online take on Diablo’s loot-based action-RPG subgenre continues to grow since its 2013 debut on PC. And it’s preparing for a new audience on PlayStation 4. This is part of why Tencent bought a majority stake in Grinding Gear in May.

Betrayal centers on your investigation of the Immortal Syndicate, a mysterious group. You’re working with Jun Ortoi, who’s a member of the Order of the Djinn. They’re concerned that the Immortal Syndicate has figured out a way to bring back the dead … without them being undead. As you investigate their 18 members, you assemble a police-like board of suspects (you may even interrogate them if you capture them). It brings a new element to Path of Exile that goes beyond killing foes, finding loot, and modding your equipment.

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