Yes, I‘m thrilled to confirm that Grinding Gear Games has officially stated Path of Exile 2 will remain free-to-play, just like the original PoE 1! As a long-time PoE fanatic, I‘ve dug deep into all the available info on PoE 2‘s pricing model and business approach. In this guide, I‘ll share everything I‘ve learned to help explain PoE 2‘s free-to-play future.
Analyzing the Smashing Success of PoE 1‘s Business Model
To start, let‘s look at why PoE 1 went free-to-play in the first place. Based on Steam data, here‘s a comparison of PoE 1‘s current player count versus two popular paid ARPGs:
|Path of Exile
As you can see, PoE 1‘s player base absolutely dwarfs other top ARPGs. By removing the barrier of an upfront cost, PoE opened itself up to a huge audience that may not have otherwise tried it.
And PoE 1 monetizes these masses of players exceptionally well too. According to SuperData estimates, PoE 1 earned over $100M in 2019 revenue. For context, that‘s more than some major franchises like Civilization and Total War earned the same year!
So PoE 1‘s free-to-play approach paired with ethical microtransactions has clearly been a smash success. This sets a strong precedent for PoE 2 to follow the same model.
PoE 2 Shares Endgame Content with PoE 1
Another key factor in PoE 2 going free-to-play is its integration with PoE 1. I‘m pumped that PoE 2 adds an entirely new campaign and engine improvements! But based on Grinding Gear‘s descriptions, PoE 2 will still share the same endgame systems as PoE 1.
This means current PoE 1 players will retain access to all the endgame content they‘ve unlocked after completing PoE 2‘s campaign. And new players starting with PoE 2 will graduate into the full PoE 1 endgame once finishing the story.
So in a sense, PoE 1 and 2 almost act like two halves of the same whole. PoE 2 provides a refreshed leveling experience, while PoE 1 offers the consistent endgame. This intertwining makes separating the two with different monetization models a non-starter.
And I couldn‘t be more pleased that both parts will remain entirely free!
PoE 2‘s New Content Justifies the Sequel Designation
Now you may be wondering: if PoE 2 shares so much with PoE 1, why brand it as a sequel at all? Based on the announced features, I think Grinding Gear is completely justified in naming this a full PoE 2. Just look at some of the massive changes coming:
- Overhauled graphics and engine
- New randomized campaign structure
- 19 additional Ascendancy classes
- Major rework of the passive skill tree
- Complete itemization revamp
- Updated loot and crafting systems
That‘s a ton of fresh content and fundamental improvements! PoE 2 will absolutely provide a modernized experience that lives up to being a true sequel. The shared endgame will keep the community united, while all the new systems will bring much needed revitalization after nearly 10 years of PoE 1.
Analyzing the Market Potential for PoE 2
Based on the hype around PoE 2‘s features, I strongly believe Grinding Gear has an opportunity to expand PoE‘s audience even further with the sequel. Let‘s look at some key market factors that support this:
- The ARPG genre has grown on Twitch and YouTube recently, with PoE being a major beneficiary
- Main competitor Diablo IV isn‘t expected until 2023 at the earliest
- PoE 2 will help close the graphical and quality gap with AAA ARPGs
- The new campaign structure adds replayability and variety for content creators
- PoE Mobile will let players enjoy their characters on the go
With PoE 2‘s new content and quality-of-life changes, the timing is perfect to capture an even larger share of ARPG fans and livestream viewers. Remaining free-to-play will ensure the lowest barrier possible for new players to jump in.
And I have no doubt PoE 2 will monetize this expanded audience successfully based on PoE 1‘s phenomenal track record. Grinding Gear seems to have a sixth sense for designing microtransactions and seasonal content that keeps revenue flowing consistently.
PoE Developers Confirm Ongoing Free-to-Play Model
Most importantly, we‘ve received direct confirmation from the folks at Grinding Gear themselves about PoE 2‘s business model. In an interview with PCGamesN, here‘s what PoE creator Chris Wilson said:
“It‘s still free-to-play…we‘re not trying to make another game and then charge people for it.”
Grinding Gear also can‘t afford to divide the playerbase across two separately monetized titles. In an IGN interview, Wilson further reinforced that PoE 2 "has to be free-to-play" to ensure "the entire player base moves over happily."
Knowing how much integrity and passion Grinding Gear has shown in developing PoE 1, I trust them wholeheartedly to make the right decisions for PoE 2‘s pricing. They‘ve earned my faith as a dedicated player!
I Couldn‘t Be More Excited for PoE 2‘s Free-to-Play Future
As a PoE fan who loves the game specifically because it‘s free-to-play, I couldn‘t be more thrilled that PoE 2 will embrace the same model. Grinding Gear clearly understands how vital free access is to PoE‘s identity and success.
The sheer amount of new content and improvements coming in PoE 2 absolutely warrant it being a full sequel. But maintaining free-to-play shows Grinding Gear also understands the importance of keeping its community united.
I‘ll have to start planning my PoE 2 league starter build soon! With even more customization options, I anticipate playing the new campaign multiple times to experience all the fresh Ascendancy possibilities. And best of all, I can enjoy PoE 2 completely free of charge.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions about PoE 2‘s business model or features. I‘ll be sure to keep a close eye on all the latest PoE 2 info leading up to release. Thanks for reading!