61% of Warframe developer Digital Extremes was purchased by Leyou Technologies (then known as Sumpo Food Holdings) in 2014. Leyou upped that share to 97% in 2016, effectively making it the full owner of Digital Extremes. And just last week, Leyou itself was scooped up by Tencent. Regardless of who exactly owns what, it’s a fact that Digital Extremes hasn’t been an “independent” game company for at least four years, and maybe six.
That said, DE still wants you to know it’s independent — in a way. The developer put out a statement last night saying it will remain “creatively independent,” expecting “no changes to Warframe or how our studio operates.” The direction of Warframe “will remain in the hands of its development team.”
“Tencent is well known for respecting the creative decisions and integrity of its studios, and for giving them the autonomy and independence to experiment, innovate and thrive.”
All of that is a standard statement issued to customers any time a buyout occurs, and there’s no reason to think the feeling isn’t genuine. It’s hard to argue that Tencent hasn’t been very “hands-off” in how it deals with the other companies it owns (full or in part), such as Grinding Gear Games or Riot Games.
But if you’re a Warframe fan and are worried that someone else will be calling the shots on your favorite game, well, that’s been the case for the better part of a decade now. If you were on board with the game in 2014 or 2016, then there’s no reason to think things will be different in 2020 or beyond, even with Tencent now in charge.