Digital Extremes founder Schmalz stepping down as CEO

Digital Extremes founder Schmalz stepping down as CEO

The founder and CEO of Digital Extremes James Schmalz is leaving the company.

In a post on the Warframe maker's website, the firm said that he will be remaining as a member of the board. There's no other information about what Schmalz's plans are after vacating the CEO's seat.

He is being replaced effective immediately by Digital Extremes' chief creative officer, Steve Sinclair, who has worked at the company for 24 years. In the past, Sinclair had led development on the studio's smash hit Warframe.

“It’s been a long journey from Epic Pinball to Soulframe,” Schmalz said.

“I feel immensely privileged to have been able to play my part in shaping our industry; building our stellar team has been a fulfilling life work. I feel in Steve we have the ideal leader to take us and our growing community of players into a new era and can’t wait to see what can be accomplished under his leadership.”

Sinclair added: “I’d like to join the rest of the DE team and our community in thanking James for all he’s done. James saying ‘yes’ to Warframe in 2012 and boldly committing to making it work changed the trajectory of our company. James believed - and continues to believe - in our team when no one else would, and established one of the most community-oriented and player-focused studios in the world.

"Making great games with a team that values a culture of positivity, dignity, and high performance is our goal. I’m humbled and nervous to lead this amazing company; for now I’ll throw my ‘Lunaro 2’ notes in the trash so we can remain focused on our commitment to surprise and delight audiences around the world.”

Schmalz founded Digital Extremes back in 1993.

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.