On last week’s F2P Cast, we joked that Tencent owns a piece of practically everything. That now includes Grinding Gear Games, which now owns approximately 80% of the Path of Exile developer, according to the New Zealand herald.
GGG CEO Chris Wilson took to Reddit to offer up some Q&A’s on the deal, which included the usual “nothing will change” and “we’re still in control” platitudes, which — in my experience — are a coin flip as to whether they’re true or not. At the least, Wilson said the schedule of four content updates per year will still continue, with tentative plans for 4.0.0 to enter beta in 2020.
What is certain is that Tencent’s been publishing PoE in China since last year’s launch, and, with its financial backing, GGG should have the ability to expand and reach an even further audience. That includes increasing staff, according to the NZ Herald, which also quoted Wilson as saying that the company was focusing on Path of Exile but would “love to” make other games.
It’s always scary when an outside company acquires your favorite game company. As I said at the time of the Sony Online Entertainment acquisition — by whomever it was — it usually doesn’t change as much as you’d think. Sure, Daybreak Game Company has fallen on hard times, but Sony Online Entertainment was bleeding money as the time of its acquisition, so, at least in terms of its games (putting aside the question of Russians meddling in the 2016 election), probably not much would have played out different. Look at Tencent’s own acquisition of Riot Games; League of Legends is still doing OK, no? And then there’s NCSoft/ArenaNet, Activision/Blizzard, and Leyou/Digital Extremes (remember that?), none have which have seemed like predatory relationships.
Granted, yes, there is the other side of things, like Perfect World Entertainment — which, like the SOE/Daybreak/Columbus Nova stuff, is probably more about buying up weak products that are in trouble to being with — and just about anything Electronic Arts picks up. But it’s pure panic to think that GGG being bought out by Tencent is automatically bad, just because it’s a big scary foreign company.
Now, if you don’t want to support Tencent/GGG because it’s a part of this whole thing, that’s another matter entirely…