Warframe on Nintendo Switch: 5 Things You Need to Know

One of the top free-to-play games on PS4, Xbox One on Steam is now available on Nintendo Switch. The Switch version of Warframe, a frenetic sci-fi shooter that is often compared to Destiny, impressed us in our brief pre-release hands-on session with the game.

For the uninitiated, Warframe is an online co-op shooter in which gamers play as one of the dozens of Warframes, or classes of space warriors, each with their own attributes and abilities. Expanded to an epic scale over the past five years, this fan-favorite game blends fast-paced third-person shooter gameplay with a seemingly endless trove of loot that can be collected by grinding through missions.

Here are five things you need to know about the Nintendo Switch version of Warframe before you progress to distant planets.

You don't need Nintendo Switch Online to play

Warframe on Switch is free-to-play, which means you don't have to pay a penny to download it. Better yet, all Warframes (classes), weapons, boosts, and items can be acquired by playing the game. Of course, like any free-to-play title, you can use real money to purchase virtual currency (Platinum) that will reduce the time it takes to acquire those items, but microtransactions are by no means mandatory to get the full Warframe experience.

When it was announced that Warframe would be ported to the Switch, Nintendo gamers feared that they'd need to spend the annual $20 fee for Nintendo's new online service. However, that's not the case — Warframe does not require a Switch Online subscription.

PC gamers can migrate their account to Switch

Not only is Warframe one of the top-selling title on Steam, but it's also a game that some players have logged hundreds, some even thousands, of hours into. If you're one of those people, you probably don't want to start from scratch on the Switch. Fortunately, you won't have to. Gamers will have an unspecified window of time to migrate their PC accounts to the Nintendo Switch version of the game, allowing them to continue where they left off. Keep in mind, however, that your PC and Switch accounts aren't actually linked, so you can't share progress between them.

Xbox and PS4 players aren't so lucky. Without the ability to move their accounts over, console gamers will need to create a new Warframe account on the Switch and start over on Earth.

Switch users get (almost) the full experience

Digital Extremes, with help from Panic Button — a company known for porting AAA titles to the Switch — spent a lot of time optimizing Warframe for the Switch, a much less powerful console compared to the Xbox One or PS4. I was pleasantly surprised with the results after playing a brief demo of Warframe on the Switch. What impressed me the most is the incomprehensible amount of content in the game. Along with the 40+ Warframes to choose from, players can dive into 14 different planets and equip more than 200 melee weapons.

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The version of Warframe available at launch is identical to the summer PC build (the Mast of the Revenant Update), before the latest Fortuna update, an expansion that introduced an open-world setting to the vast universe. Digital Extremes promises to update the Switch version with the latest content in 2019, bringing it up-to-date with the PC and console platforms.

Voice chat and motion controls are supported

Warframe supports voice chat via a standard 3.5mm headphone jack or USB-C port. All you have to do is plug your headset into the console to talk with members of your squad. This should come as a relief to gamers because many Switch games, including all Nintendo-branded titles, require you to open the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app for voice chat functionality.

Warframe also supports Joy-Con motion controls, which can be enabled from the settings menu. Mining, shooting, and fishing can all be done using motion controls, giving Warframe on Switch a unique advantage over the other versions.

No cross-platform play, yet

Warframe still doesn't support cross-platform play, at least, not yet. Digital Extremes admitted in a press release that it "loves the idea of cross-play," but the functionality wouldn't be enabled in the advent of the Switch version. That doesn't mean we won't see it in the future, but I wouldn't hold your breath until the Switch is at parity with the other versions. 

Credit: Digital Extremes

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. Previously, he was a Senior Writer at Tom's Guide and has also been a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.