NZ game Path of Exile poised for global launch

By Ben Chapman-Smith

A screen shot from Grinding Gear Games' popular online role playing hit Path of Exile.
A screen shot from Grinding Gear Games' popular online role playing hit Path of Exile.

It's been a long time coming but Auckland game development studio Grinding Gear Games is about to officially launch its hit game Path of Exile.

Grinding Gear has been developing Path of Exile since 2007 but the game has until now been in beta form, while being tested.

Path of Exile, which already has more than three million registered users, is a PC-based online role paying game (RPG) set in a fantasy world.

After raising $US2.5 million in a crowdfunding round earlier this year, Grinding Gear has been putting the finishing touches on the game ahead of its full release.

Founder Chris Wilson said Path of Exile would officially come out of beta tomorrow and be launched with a worldwide online and PR campaign.

"It's been about seven years now since we started the company. We feel we've picked a good time to launch it and are very interested in what people think about it tomorrow."

Wilson said many people in the global gaming community would be been waiting for the game to come out of beta before playing it.

"Some people choose not to play beta because the word is used as an excuse for having a lot of loose ends. There's a higher expectation of quality once you leave beta."

He hoped the game would attract a much bigger audience and solid reviews from tomorrow.

"I'd be pleased if we managed to get another million or so playing the game in the next year or even sooner."

To coincide with the launch, a range of additions have been made to the game, including new players and new skills.

Since Grinding Gear Games was founded in 2006, its has grown to a team of 44 people, including 11 support staff.

Based in west Auckland, the studio makes its money through a 'freemium' model, where players can make "cosmetic micro-transactions".

The game is free to play but users can choose to pay for special features which affect how they look - but not their ability to win the game.

Wilson said it was important to Grinding Gear that any paid-for features only served to enhance the game, rather than giving players any advantage.

He did not want to disclose revenue figures but said the company was "certainly profitable".

It was unlikely that players would be seeing advertisements popping up on the site because Path of Exile's "discerning audience" would probably disapprove, he said.

"They (ads) diminish the experience while providing minimal revenue for these types of games."

New foreign-language versions of the game will be rolled out next year to attract players in non-English speaking nations.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 11 Jul 2014 15:00:34 Processing Time: 1609ms