Palworld, the anticipated crypto-backed video game often called “Pokémon with guns,” has taken the gaming world by storm in a few days.
Developed by Japanese indie game studio Pocketpair, the game has garnered notable attention and controversy due to its similarities to the Pokémon franchise. However, within days of its release, Palworld has amassed a staggering $100 million in revenue, catapulting it to the top of the gaming charts.
Palworld Tops Steam Charts And Xbox Distribution
Palworld’s success story begins with its creator, Takuro Mizobe, a former employee of JPMorgan Securities who later ventured into the crypto world. Mizobe reportedly utilized his crypto fortune to establish Pocketpair, an indie game developer, in 2015.
The game’s premise revolves around players collaborating to capture monsters, construct bases, and survive in a whimsical, cartoonish universe. However, as Bloomberg reported, what sets Palworld apart from Pokémon is its departure from the kid-friendly approach.
In Palworld, players can employ firearms to catch and train the creatures called “Pals.” This twist has sparked heated debates among gaming enthusiasts and drawn the ire of some dedicated Pokémon fans.
According to Bloomberg, Pocketpair sold over 5 million copies of Palworld within three days, a feat that highlights the game’s popularity. The game soared to the top spot on the Steam platform, with 1.6 million simultaneous players on PCs, marking the third-highest player count in the platform’s history.
Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox division has recognized Palworld’s potential and distributes the game on its consoles and Game Pass subscription service.
The combination of multiplayer elements, monster collecting, shooting mechanics, and survival gameplay has resonated with gamers, drawing comparisons to other popular titles like “Ark: Survival Evolved,” said Serkan Toto of Japanese consultancy Kantan Games.
Controversial Similarities To Pokémon
The success of Palworld has not gone unnoticed by industry giants. Nintendo Co., the primary distributor of Pokémon games, has acknowledged the existence of Palworld but declined to comment on the matter. Similarly, representatives from Pokémon Co. have refrained from providing any official statements.
The similarities between Palworld and Pokémon have fueled fan debates and raised questions about copyright infringement. However, legal experts suggest that the game’s “unique elements “and distinct character designs mitigate potential legal issues. Serkan Toto stated on the matter:
Of course, it’s a well-made game and the mechanics play a role, but nobody would talk about this game like they are right now if the designs weren’t as reminiscent of Pokémon. If you changed the characters, the game would be far away from the success we’re seeing.
Nevertheless, according to Brandon Huffman, founding attorney at Odin Law & Media, the gaming industry has witnessed a shift in the perception of taking inspiration from successful titles. In the past, game companies faced reputational risks when drawing heavily from a previous hit.
Huffman argues that in the current gaming landscape, especially with genres like survival and battle royale, developers have an established precedent for adopting and building upon each other’s ideas. This evolving trend suggests that Pocketpair may face less legal scrutiny for the similarities between Palworld and Pokémon.
Connor Richards of Odin Law & Media further explores the issue by examining the visual elements of Palworld. After personally experiencing the game for ten hours, Richards asserts that while some creatures may share resemblances with generic animals and monsters, they do not give the impression of directly imitating Pokémon.
Despite the controversy surrounding the game’s similarities to Pokémon, Palworld continues to receive rave reviews from players. On Steam, where the game has garnered over 49,000 reviews, it holds a “very positive” rating.
Featured image from Steam, chart from TradingView.com