Digital Extremes and Splash Damage Are Now Owned by Tencent
Another year, more studio acquisitions. This sort of thing happens a lot, especially in the games industry. Studios that we knew from around 10-15 years ago are now either owned by entirely other companies or merged into new ones. This most recent series of acquisitions concerns one big conglomerate that always seems to pop up with this sort of news: Tencent. In a post made to both of their respective websites, studios Digital Extremes and Splash Damage announced that they are now owned by Tencent after a recent purchase. In both posts, the general vibe seems to be one of "Don't worry, everyone, nothing's going to change or anything like that."
"We will remain creatively independent, we expect no changes to Warframe or how our studio operates, and we will remain as dedicated as ever to you, the community, who has been with us every step of the way since we launched Warframe," Digital Extremes writes on their post. They go on to assure in the FAQs that they'll remain 100% in control of Warframe's direction and content just as they always have, providing the best online service for the community they possibly can just as always. Splash Damage's posting reads in a very similar fashion, reiterating similar sentiments. It probably makes you wonder why all of these assurances are even needed in the first place, though, doesn't it?
Part of it is due to the simple nature of companies changing when bought by other ones. It's happened plenty of times in the past, though it doesn't occur every time either. Sometimes the change is barely noticeable! In Tencent's case, the China-based conglomerate has been busy over the past handful of years sweeping up studios left and right. They own notable studios like League of Legends developer Riot Games, as well as Funcom. They also have investments in companies like Activision Blizzard and Epic Games. With any company growing to this size, Tencent has seen its own fair share of controversy in these past years as well. Things like the Hearthstone 2019 tournament winner Blitzchung having his prize money revoked by Blizzard shortly after his victory interview featured him speaking in support of the protesters in Hong Kong that same year definitely rings a bell. Stuff like that gets people nervous about what could happen to other studios, though for one like Digital Extremes, it's hard to imagine. They have a very good rep with the community for their support.
Either way, both companies are now under new ownership. Aside from this, it's business as usual for both. Digital Extremes noted further in their post that the Chinese version of Warframe is actually quite behind the rest of the world's, with the hope being this acquisition leads to a quick fix-up for Chinese players. For a multiplayer-focused game like Warframe, that's very important indeed! The same goes for Splash Damage, as they've worked on a number of multiplayer modes for prolific AAA games. Honestly, it seems like Tencent prefers to go for studios that focus more on multiplayer titles. They're bigger than ever right now, after all. If you want to read the full disclosures from both Digital Extremes and Splash Damage, make sure to check out their websites. The former promises more surprises in store for Warframe players in 2021.