The Pokémon Company plans to investigate Palworld. However, it’s unclear at this time if anything will come of the investigation. Palworld, if you aren’t familiar with it, is a survival game that was released last week and has been doing incredibly well.
As of 6:51 p.m. PT on January 24, Palworld developers PocketPair confirmed the game had sold over 8 million copies. The game was only released on January 18. It’s safe to say that Palworld is enjoying a huge amount of success right now, and if you’d like to bask in that success, you can pick up the game for yourself on Steam (it’s also available on Xbox) for $29.99.
That success isn’t coming without a huge amount of negative attention though. Many people have expressed concerns over Palworld’s monsters called “pals” looking too similar to some of the Pokémon in Pokémon games. There are indeed plenty of similarities. Fans of the Pokémon franchise are so concerned with the issue that they’ve been reaching out to The Pokémon Company claiming Palworld has ripped off assets. The Pokémon Company said in a statement that it’s aware of the situation and plans to investigate.
#Palworld has sold over 8 million copies in less than 6 days!
Thank you very much!!
— Palworld (@Palworld_EN) January 25, 2024
The Pokémon Company says it will investigate Palworld and take appropriate action
It doesn’t explicitly mention Palworld. However, the company’s statement could really only be referring to one thing. And that one thing is Palworld. “We have received many inquiries from customers about other companies’ games released in January 2024 that they are similar to Pokémon, as well as inquiries to see if they are licensed by us. We do not license any use of Pokemon in this game. In addition, we will investigate any infringement of intellectual property rights related to Pokémon and take appropriate measures,” The Pokémon Company says.
It’s quite clear this is referring to Palworld. It’s the only game that’s released in January of 2024 that contains any content even remotely similar to Pokémon. Many fans have also been drawing comparisons between Palworld and the Pokemon franchise. Even people who love Palworld see the similarities. That being said, PocketPair CEO Takuro Mizobe says Palworld was cleared in legal reviews. Following those reviews, no action had been taken by other companies regarding copyright infringement.
This would suggest that Palworld is on the up and up regarding infringement. Still, The Pokémon Company will do its due diligence and move forward if needed. What seems likely is that in not so many words, the statement given could be referring more to modders than PocketPair. In the past week since Palworld’s release, at least one modder was already met with a DMCA takedown because of a Pokémon mod they created for Palworld and tried to sell. The mod went so far as to reskin the main character as Ash Ketchum. Many of the game’s pals were also reskinned to various Pokémon.
Palworld is less like Pokémon and more like Ark: Survival Evolved or Valheim
It’s easy to look at Palworld and point out the immediately noticeable Pokémon comparisons. But it’s a lot less like Pokémon and more like Ark: Survival Evolved or Valheim. Both of those games are survival games and that’s what the majority of gameplay is like in Palworld. A lot of your time will be spent gathering resources and building stuff. Which can include but isn’t limited to houses and other domiciles, and workbenches to craft a variety of items.
You can collect creatures in it and the method in which you do so does look and feel a lot like Pokémon. But the entire game doesn’t revolve around this singular theme. You can even equip guns to both your character and your pals. Giving the game a little bit of a shooter or “GTA” vibe according to some. Long story short, Palworld may remind you of Pokémon, but it isn’t Pokémon and it doesn’t seem likely there were any infringements. That could always change, of course. Should The Pokémon Company find anything in its investigation.
In the meantime, you should give the game a try if you have the time and you’re looking for something new to play. It’s genuinely fun, and it’s not an expensive game.
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