Warframe is a third-person shooting game published by Digital Extremes under Leyou Technologies. The free-to-play shooter takes place far into the future where the player controls members of the Tenno, an ancient warrior race who have awoken after centuries of suspended animation, only to find themselves at the heart of a war with other fractions in the planetary system. The Tenno are masters of Warframe, an advanced system of weapons and armor that enable an array of supernatural abilities, from regenerating shields to enhancing mobility.
Warframe was released back in March of 2013 for Windows computers and was ported to the PlayStation 4 later that year. A year later, Warframe was ported to the Xbox One and to the Nintendo Switch in 2018. The developer, Digital Extremes, plans to reintroduce the game to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles in late 2020.
Despite being released more than seven years ago, Warframe remains a relevant game to this day. Digital Extremes has released expansion after expansion, which have not only elaborated on the storyline but also introduced players to a large, open world, improved gear, and additional gaming modes.
Initially, sales of Warframe were slow, mainly as a result of the low player count and critical reviews. GameSpot, one of the most trusted game reviewers, gave Warframe a lukewarm rating of 6/10 at its launch. In 2019, after reevaluating the constant improvements that the developers had implemented into Warframe, GameSpot increased its rating to 8.
Through annual conventions, dubbed TennoCon, the company has built a tight-knit relationship with its fanbase. Even seven years after its launch, Warframe remains Digital Extreme’s most popular title with a thriving community of over 50 million players across all available platforms.
Warframe remains one of the most played third-person shooter games more than seven years after its launch. Most of the game’s success can be attributed to the developers’ care of user feedback.
Key Warframe Statistics
- 57.5 million registered Warframe players (March 2019)
- 19.57% growth of newly registered players in 2019
- 1.2 billion total manhours spent playing Warframe (March 2018)
- Highest concurrent Warframe player count of 154,246 players on Steam, set in August 2020
- 50,000 average concurrent Warframe players on PCs
- 1 millionth download on the Nintendo Switch in June 2020
- More than 18 million Warframe players on PlayStation 4 with 160,000 new players between September and October 2020
- Warframe ranked 105th most popular game on Twitch
- Warframe ranked 3rd most popular third-person shooter on Steam
- A peak of 2,269,776 hours watched of Warframe streamers on Twitch in November 2018
- 15,753,936 peak hours watched of Warframe streamers on Twitch for the month of August in 2020
- The peak viewership of Warframe streams on Twitch was 433,473 people in August 2020
- Warframe, the game’s most popular Twitch streamer, had a 58,752 peak concurrent viewer count
- Roughly 68,000 active accounts with nothing but Warframe
- Total revenue from Warframe comprised roughly 80% of Leyou Technologies’ 2019 earnings of $214.2 million
- TennoCon, the annual convention for Warframe hosted by Digital Extremes, was started in 2016. The first convention was visited by over 1,000 Warframe players from across the country.
- TennoCon 2019, hosted in London, Ontario, Canada, attracted 490,000 visitors with a prize pool of $250,000 to send a lucky sweepstakes winner to space
Warframe User Statistics
In 2019 at Warframe’s sixth birthday, Digital Extremes celebrated the momentous occasion by announcing that the total player base was nearing 50 million across all gaming platforms. Growth of the number of Warframe players had been steadily increasing, but 2018 saw the greatest increase in the company’s seven-year history.
Porting to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch brought about an influx of new registered accounts. In 2018 alone, nearly 12 million accounts were added to bring the count of players up to more than 38 million. In June 2020, Digital Extremes announced that the total number of Warframe downloads on the Nintendo Switch had reached the one-million download mark, just one and a half years after porting the handheld gaming console.
Average Players on Steam
There were huge spikes of player increase in certain months due to huge expansions that were released on these following months:
- December 2015 – The release of Update 18/The Second Dream Expansion
- November 2016 – The Release of Update 19/The War Within
- Added a new Story Questline
- Added New Missions:
- Assault Mode
- Mobile Defence
- New Weapons
- New Enemies:
- Kuva Guardians
- Kuva Jesters
- November 2017 – The Release of Update 22/Plains of Eidolon
- Added a whole new Open-World segment for Warframe
- Added more story quests
- Added Fishing
- Flying a Sky Archwing
- Three new mod sets.
- Eidolon Hunting
- June 2018 – The Release of Update 23/The Sacrifice
- Added a new Story Questline
- November 2018 – The Release of Update 24/Fortune
- New Story Missions
- New areas to explore
- December 2019 – The Release of Update 27/Empyrean
- Construct and Upgrade the RailJack
- Recruit NPCs to the Ship
- Space Battles
- Nemesis System
- August 2020 – The Release of Update 29/Heart of Deimos
- Added a new Story Questline
- New Open World – Cambion Drift
- New Hub – Necralisk
- New Races – The Entrati and the Necraloid
- Added Nechramechs
Average Concurrent Viewers and Channels on Twitch
The highest recorded number of concurrent Warframe viewers was 433,476 in August 2020. Because of the pandemic, TennoCon, which is usually held in London, Ontario, Canada, was streamed on its Twitch channel for the entire world to watch.
The digital event showcased the then-upcoming expansion, Heart of Deimos (released on August 25), as well as new information about the Warframe universe. Viewers were also chosen at random during the live stream and received all sorts of prizes from Digital Extremes.
Warframe Revenue Statistics
In early 2020, the CEO of Leyou Technologies, Xu Yiran, announced that amidst the declining sales of current-generation consoles, revenues from Warframe beat all odds and attributed to roughly 80% of the company’s $214.2 million earnings in 2019. This was mainly due to the 20% increase of registered from the prior year across all platforms.
Money that users spend on Warframe gets turned into Platinum—the in-game currency—which then is spent on obtaining Warframes, sentinels, gear, and cosmetics. Even though you can buy plat to subsequently purchase new items, most of these items can be obtained through hardcore grinding.
P2W Done Right
A pay-to-win system in any game is usually met with disdain from its audience, but the same cannot be said for Warframe. Even though Warframe offers PvP options, most of the gameplay is centered around PvE, so players are very rarely in direct competition with each other. Essentially, one person spending thousands of dollars on Platinum—the in-game currency—for enhancements and stronger gear does not put other players at a disadvantage.
In addition, the player-to-player economy allows those with time on their hands to farm and sell items to cash-rich players for their premium goods, making almost the entire item list on Warframe accessible by all players.
In the past, Digital Extremes implemented more blatantly obvious systems to make a profit from their user base but had withdrawn such systems after receiving backlash from players. In one extreme case, Digital Extremes actually removed a microtransaction because a single player was using it too much.
Even though the Warframe community has surpassed the 50-million-member mark, the game’s tournament scene is basically nonexistent. Informal, purely entertainment competitions are held by active members with minimal or no pool prizes, just bragging rights.
Warframe New Player Complaints
Even though the total number of registered accounts in Warframe is more than 50 million across multiple gaming platforms, the number of active players daily is incredibly low. The zero-dollar price tag to download and play the game has been one of the most appealing points of Warframe, but the player retention rate seems to be much lower than the devs had hoped.
There have been several negative reviews by new players left on YouTube and on forums that have pointed out some pretty glaring flaws about Warframe’s gameplay. One major reason for new players leaving Warframe after logging less than 24 hours of gaming time is a lack of understanding of the game’s mechanics (traveling to certain destinations and being one-shotted by enemies). Other games like PUBG and Fortnite offer millions in cumulative prize pools, whereas there is no way for skilled players to earn cash prizes, despite there being an active PvP scene.
Tencent Acquires Leyou Technologies
In 2019, the mobile publisher iDreamSky publicly announced that it was in talks with Leyou regarding a potential takeover. However, the talks soon fizzled out, but it was clear the controlling shareholder, Charles Yuk, was putting the company up for sale.
Rumors of Tencent’s interest in Leyou Technologies sprouted in July 2020. The global mobile gaming behemoth—the majority shareholder of iDreamSky—was interested in purchasing Leyou Technologies through a direct acquisition. It was no secret that Tencent wanted to capitalize on the Leyou’s presence in the free-to-play online gaming realm for PC and multiple consoles. Three days after the release of the latest expansion, Heart of Deimos, Tencent purchased Leyou Technologies for an astounding $1.4 billion.
Despite what many users have claimed to be a bad move for Leyou, the relationship between Tencent and Extreme Digitals could prove to be fruitful for all parties involved. Becoming a part of Tencent might become the driving force behind Warframe’s introduction to the mobile gaming world, while Digital Extremes and other developing studios previously under the Leyou umbrella might help launch Tencent into the PC gaming sphere.