Chris Wilson Statement: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2147313
This is an interesting development to say the least. For the longest time Path of Exile has been a game developed and published by an independent company that didn't really have any financial ties to other companies or publishers. They relied on the purchasing of supporter packs and cosmetic microtransactions to continue to fund and improve upon their game.
Tencent is a Chinese video game publisher that has a long history of implementing microtransactions which do affect in-game performance which is something that does not fit into the Path of Exile ecosystem. One of the biggest draws for the game is both the difficulty and depth; having paid opportunities to improve a character means the death of the competitive aspect of the game since players would have the ability to use their real money to obtain an advantage in the game.
Chris Wilson has officially stated that they still have control over the game and that the opportunity means they will have the ability to hire additional staff to continue to work on the game. While I generally do believe that their intention is to continue operating as normal, there is always going to be a bit of concern that Tencent could force or otherwise persuade GGG to make changes to the game that might not be in the best interest of the competitive aspect of the game.
Tencent owns giant franchises like League of Legends and Clash of Clans and has a strong reputation for respecting the design decisions of developers and studios they invest in, allowing a high level of autonomy in continuing to operate and develop their games.
In this statement, including Clash of Clans as an example isn't exactly something that makes me feel better about the situation. Those types of games require the player to wait a specified amount of time to do something, but offer a paid opportunity to bypass that waiting period. In essence, this allows players to pay money to progress faster than others in the game that are unwilling or unable to make those same payments.
Path of Exile relies on everyone being on a level playing field to make it an interesting game. In-game trading is a major part of the game for most players even with the 'SSF' mode within the game. If a player wants certain uniques to use for their character, they either need to find a way to acquire them in-game or purchase the items from other characters in return for in-game currencies. If Tencent were to allow for these currencies or items to be purchased with in-game money, this will reduce the number of these items available to players that are unable or unwilling to pay for them. This would also remove the challenge of having to find the items for yourself if you haven't grinded that much in-game currency.
I am looking at this with optimism, but I am definitely a bit skeptical about whether or not Tencent can manage to keep their hands away from the International version of the game given that their publishing of the Chinese version of the game contains microtransactions that do indeed give players that are willing to pay an advantage in the game. While this might not mark the death of the game as a whole, it is definitely a concerning development that could mean worse things on the horizon. It could also lead to great improvements to the game being made in the near future.