Path of Exile creator has more than doubled staff as players hit 4 million

It has been a big year for Grinding Gear Games co-founder Chris Wilson.

The West Auckland-based games studio officially released its hit game Path of Exile this year after seven years of development.

The PC-based online role-playing game (RPG), which is set in a fantasy world, now has more than four million registered users around the world.

The international gaming community has given Path of Exile glowing reviews and it has recently been nominated for PC Game of the Year by GameSpot - a leading online game review site.

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"It's certainly a big relief that the company is profitable and that we don't need to worry about whether the game will be successful or not any more," Wilson said.

The 31-year-old explains that gaming has been in his blood from a young age.

"I grew up playing games on my Commodore Amiga computer and dreamed of becoming a game developer when I grew up.

"This led to me studying computer science at university," Wilson said. "The feeling of having people play a game that you created is really fulfilling and addictive.

"Each review and discussion thread online is great motivation to keep working as hard as we can."

Path of Exile is an online Action RPG set in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. We're a small independent team of hardcore gamers based in New Zealand and have created Path of Exile as the game that we'd want to play ourselves.

At the start of the year, the company had 22 team members. That number has now swelled to about 55 to handle Path of Exile's popularity. And next year is shaping to be just as busy.

Wilson is planning to push the game to even more countries.

At the moment Path of Exile is available only in Western markets.

"There are many more large territories (such as Taiwan) that have shown great interest in Path of Exile but can't currently play easily because we don't have local servers in their area or a version of the game available in their language."