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March 25, 2013
Released in March 2013, Warframe is a free-to-play action role-playing third-person shooter multiplayer online game. That’s a mouthful. The game started on PC, but was progressively ported on all consoles.It is known for its infinite longevity, nervous gameplay, interesting lore, numerous updates, farming-grinding mechanics, diverse weaponry, gaming modes, and its real free-to-play policy.
Throughout its 8 years of existence, Warframe went through several changes including more than 30 updates, 10 expansions, and hundreds of small updates here and there. Digital Extremes made sure to provide enough content to players to avoid their world stagnating. The result is a rich storyline, hundreds of weapons, more places to explore, more missions to tackle, more ways to enjoy the game alone or in a group. The game started pretty close to the bottom, with low sales and a name often dragged in the mud by video game critics. The product was not perfect, but it was also during a period where journalists were looking down on free-to-play games and the studio had to fight the comparisons with the anticipated Destiny.
It was not easy, but the staff at Digital Extremes continued to fight: lending an ear to players to know what was wrong, fixing the issues the best they could, and enforcing a real free-to-play policy meaning that players would not have to spend a small fortune to be able to enjoy and finish the game (a rare moral code). It created a small community of dedicated fans who worked hard to spread the word and helped bring in more players through word of mouth and mini-campaigns. Nowadays, Warframe statistics show the game is doing well. It is not smashing numbers and records, but through its engagement with the community and the constant additions to the game, Warframe has been able to stay afloat. For more insightful information about our video games industry statistics check out our piece and gain helpful knowledge on the subject matter.
Warframe user stats
Warframe earned its stars thanks to the staff working hard to improve the game, but also because its small community did not give up on the game. And even after expanding so much, players still come back after some time to check on the game.
Most players are between the ages of 18-25.
Players from 18-21 are at the top of the poll with 35%.
The 22-25 group comes close second with 25%.
The minority includes people from 10-13 and 30-40+.
14-17 and 26-30 are caught in between with average percentages.
The game is pretty mature in its content and themes so the fact that actual adults and young adults are the most prominent in the community is not a surprise.
Warframe has reached over 60 million registered players.
(Source: Digital Extremes)
In 2019, the growth in players registering was up to 19.57%.
In 2018, 48 million players were registered.
Players accumulated a total of 1.2 billion hours spent playing (March 2018).
A feat for Digital Extremes. The problem with this total is that the studio never provides the number of monthly to daily active users so people can actually how the game is doing as a whole.
The highest concurrent players count Warframe has reached is 181,509.
(Source: Steam Charts)
It was in July 2021 and is mostly due to TennoCon being streamed online.
It broke Warframe’s own record of 154,246 in August 2020.
Warframe reached a minimum of 100,000 concurrent players in April 2019, March 2019, November 2018, June-August 2018 and October-November 2017.
This new record earned Warframe a spot on Steam’s Top-Ten Highest Ever Peak Concurrency for a free-to-play game and on Twitch’s Top-Five Highest Peak Concurrent Viewer Streams of 2021.
The fandom truly demonstrated that even if Warframe did not have millions of concurrent players, the game was still followed and checked on by a lot of people. TennoCon 2021 was a big success.
Warframe key stats
Digital Extremes, the studio behind Warframe, has 25 years of experience in the video game industry. How did it reflect on their most prominent creation?
Warframe generated an overall revenue of $74.1 million in 2020.
The revenue generated in 2018 was $180.5 million and $175 million in 2019.
In 2020, Warframe suffered a 18.9% revenue loss YoY.
In 2019, Warframe represented 80% of Leyou Technologies’ total revenue.
A complete opposite of what a lot of games went through during COVID, Warframe actually lost a lot of money during the 2020 worldwide quarantine. The reason is that Warframe is a game that survives by regularly providing a lot of content to the players, but that was damn near impossible with all the staff locked at home.
Warframe is free-to-play and entirely relies on microtransactions for profit.
The game has its own in-game currency, the Platinum, that you can buy with real money.
Everything in Warframe can be obtainable without spending money if you are down with grinding and farming.
Microtransactions include: blueprints, cosmetics, equipment (from armor to weapons), packs, bundles and loot boxes.
Colour palettes and Warframe skins ar the only exception as you need to buy them with Platinum and they cannot be found for free.
The Tennogen system allows players to vote for the items they want to see in the Market Place. The creators of the chosen items receive 30% of the sales.
The studio has been often praised for its ethical code when it comes to money. It is not a pay-to-win game and it even pays attention not to enable people in overspending such as in this case.
Objectively speaking, Digital Extremes has mastered the art of free-to-play. Usually, games labeled as such gives you a taste and quickly force you to spend your money by locking important elements between microtransactions. Warframe has none of that and the monetization system is actually pretty fair with the users. The company needs to make some money et they certainly will not grow it on trees.
Warframe is ranked #3 on Steam in the most popular third shooter games category.
It is ranked #129 on Twitch’s most popular games list and #113 on the most streamed games list.
The YouTube channel has been stagnating at 682,000 subscribers for a while, but it still receives 60,000+ daily views on average.
Warframe’s gameplay is often described as obsolete by veterans, but it has more to do with them being used to it after 7,000 hours of playing than with it being boring.
Warframe has received 10 accolades & awards.
It was nominated 6 times in total from 2017 to 2019.
It won 4 times for Action Game twice at the Webby Awards, Best Sound Design at the 2019 Webby Award and The Labor of Love Award at The Steam Awards in 2017.
The game has been nominated several times in the “Still Playing” category showing its longevity and the fact that developers continue to take care of the content they offer. The Labor of Love Award is also a nice additional supporting the fact that Digital Extremes keeps nurturing their creation.
Warframe usage stats
The game is played and known worldwide and you can find streams from all over on Twitch.It was reported in 2018 that players had spent over 1 billion hours on the game. With all the grinding involved, no doubt.
The countries playing the most are the US, China and Russia.
(Source: Player Counter)
The US is at the top with 15,73%.
Followed by China and Russia with 6,02% and 5,34% respectively.
The rest of the Top 5 includes Brazil and the UK.
The US and Russia are often found at the top, but for once Brazil is not third.
Even with its +60 million registered users, less than 5% actually play the game regularly.
(Source: Steam Charts)
Newbies tend to give up on the game really quickly because of the lack of tutorials and the fact that they later discover that the game is actually pretty grindy, on the hardcore side.
Some also get mad at Digital Extremes monetization system even if it is actually pretty fair with the player considering that users do not have to spend a cent to finish the game comfortably.
As said before, the studio never shares the number of active users on all platforms and only gives the total number of registered users. However, between the number of people giving up quickly because they are overwhelmed by all the information and people, not into grinding, it would be interesting to know how many of those 60 million users are actually giving the game some love.
10. 1.6 million people follow Warframe on Twitch.
Over 7 days: the average number of viewers is 1.391, the average number of channels streaming the game is 145, the average number of viewers/channel is 9,6 and the average number of hours watched is 233,865.
The peak viewers is 554,359 in July 2021 and the peak channels is 1,352 in August 2020.
The game is streamed by 8% more channels during the weekend, and there are 41% more viewers.
The official Twitch channel has accumulated 18.5 million hours watched.
Warframe has a small community on Twitch, but their channel itself is well maintained with a regular schedule, thanks to Community Manager Rebecca Ford whose presence and hard work to promote the game cannot go unnoticed.
Different platforms to play
Cross-play is the better route for a multiplayer considering the social nature of that category. Digital Extremes had the means to pull it off on all consoles (except mobile) and it has been beneficial to them. It also helped the studio in bringing the whole fanbase closer to each other.
The average number of average Steam players since the beginning of the year is between 36,000-50,000.
(Source: Steam Charts)
The average number of average players since the beginning of the year is between 36,000-50,000.
The average number of peak players since the beginning of the year is 60,000 – 83,000.
451,125 positive reviews have been received on Steam.
Thanks to Steam Charts, we can actually take a peek at the gap between the number of registered users and the number of active users (on Steam). And active players do not even represent 3% of the big total.
As of November 2020, 18 million players were playing the game on PS4.3 and on PS5 on November 26, 2020.
(Source: PlayStation Blog)
In 2020, September and October saw a surge of 160,000 new players joining on PS4.
Sony did not share the numbers for the PS5. It would have been interesting to see if players migrated or not.
Warframe has been downloaded over 1 million times on Nintendo Switch as of December 2018.
(Source: Nintendo Soup)
Players are not too fond of the handheld play mode due to its small screen, but otherwise, the game on Switch was met with success. In the beginning, at least since the lack of subsequent numbers does not help us in understanding if the community is still going strong.
Digital Extremes is working on crossplay and cross-saves as well as a mobile version of the game.
(Source: PC Gamer)
Fans have been asking for those features for ages now and it has always sounded as if it was impossible for Warframe.
The announcement of a mobile version is a bit worrisome for fans who are sure that the medium is not adapted to something as expansive as Warframe.
This mobile version was expected though since Tencent acquired Leyou Technologies in 2020.
When it was only just speculation in the wind that Tencent was going to buy Leyou, the first thing that crossed people’s minds was that Tencent was going to bring his vast experience with mobile games to Warframe. And lo and behold, it happened. The small screen and less beautiful graphics are not to everyone’s taste, though.
Warframe expansions & events
The social side of a multiplayer game is not just in the game (and as a PvE, Warframe is pretty good at that), but also in how you can help the members of the community to engage more actively with each other. Sharing their excitement during an event is another way to get closer to your fandom and allow them to reinforce their bonds as fellow players. It is also the role of those expansions, which not only add to the story but give a new playground for users.
Digital Extremes hosts the TennoCon, a Warframe convention, since 2016.
It was held in London (Canada) and around 1000 fans attended the event.
In 2014, a small gathering was organized with 56 people present.
Tennocon 2019 greeted 490,000 fans and also had a prize money of $250,000.
TennoCon 2020 and 2021 had to be streamed online because of COVID.
During the convention, it is possible to win several prizes in-game if you bought a specific ticket. During the live streams for the last 2 events, people were chosen randomly in the list of viewers.TennoCon is also used to raise funds for charity.
Ten expansions have been added to the game so far.
The Second Dream, The War Within and Plains of Eidolon were released in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The Sacrifice was released in June 2018 and Fortuna in November 2018.
The Old Blood was launched in October 2019 and Empyrean in December 2019.Heart of Deimos was launched in August 2020 and Deimos Arcana in December 2020.
Finally, Corpus Proxima was released in March 2021.
To sum up
Against all expectations, Warframe ended up as a classic of the F2P. This small game started in utter silence and slowly and quietly crept its way to the top. It is not the best, but it certainly is not anywhere near that bottom. The studio’s commitment to not impede players’ freedom by forcing a lot of nonsensical microtransactions on them is fantastic, but also a burden of some sort. Indeed, the game has to maintain a balance with paid content since this is its only source of revenue.
Digital Extremes is constantly reimagining the world they have created and keeping a close relationship with the community of players. Hopefully, the new expansion and the addition of crossplay and cross-saves will give it a second wind and allow the game to gain new players/see the return of old ones.
“Warframe For Nintendo Switch”. Nintendo, 2021, https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/warframe-switch
“Warframe Is Getting Crossplay And Cross-Save Across All Platforms, Is Coming To Mobile”. PC Gamer, 2021, https://www.pcgamer.com/warframe-cross-play-cross-save
“Do You Have Any Interest In Actually Playing Warframe Mobile?”. Warframe Forums, 2021, https://forums.warframe.com/topic/1281362-do-you-have-any-interest-in-actually-playing-warframe-mobile
Evdokimov, Sergey. “Tencent Acquires Leyou Technologies For Around $1.4B”. Investgame.Net, 2020, https://investgame.net/news/tencent-has-acquired-leyou-technologies
‘Warframe’ Is Giving Away A Trip To Space, But There Is Obviously A Catch”. Forbes, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2019/07/07/warframe-is-giving-away-a-trip-to-space-but-there-is-obviously-a-catch/?sh=372522da56a4