Here’s why you should play Palworld on Steam instead of Xbox Game Pass

Palworld screenshot
(Image credit: Pocketpair)

If you've seen your social media feeds flooded with Palworld after it launched on PC and Xbox Game Pass last week, you may be considering checking out the open-world survival game that Japanese developer Pocketpair is billing as “Pokémon with guns.” However, Xbox players should know that the Xbox and Windows PC versions are missing several features the Steam one has, and a fix is currently bottlenecked by Microsoft's certification process. 

Over on the Palworld Discord server, Pocketpair community manager Bucky moved to clarify the situation in the wake of rumors that Xbox players were playing an older build of Palworld compared to the Steam version. For one, players argue, the version numbers between platforms are different, but more notable is the absence of several key features and fixes. 

Palworld players on Steam can create and join dedicated servers, allowing up to 32 players to play in the same world and create guilds together. Meanwhile, players on Xbox and Windows PC can't create or join dedicated servers, thus limiting online co-op to 2-4 players. Game Pass players on Reddit also noted the ability to name your character, the option to rename your Pals, certain sound effects, and an exit button to close the game are absent while available on the Steam version. 

These discrepancies stem from the fact that "the versions of the game are not the same between Steam and Xbox,” Bucky wrote on Discord (courtesy of Windows Central).

"There seems to be some confusion that Steam and Xbox are 'missing features'. This isn't entirely true," they continued. "Some features may be slightly different or have different value but other issues like the missing exit game button etc are not a result of an 'older build', these are separate issues."

The Steam and Xbox versions will likely never have identical version numbers until crossplay between the platforms becomes available. "Because at that point they will be the same game internally," Bucky explained. 

"Again, that doesn't mean Xbox is necessarily 'behind' or anything, they are just just fundamentally two different versions of the game because of the architecture on Xbox is different."

Said architecture is also why updates are taking longer to implement on the Xbox version compared to Steam. On Valve's marketplace, developers can apply patches when and how they see fit, whereas with Microsoft, updates have to go through the company's certification process. 

"Some of these things will take extra time," Bucky said in a response to a fan's post about feature parity, "we're really at the mercy of the certification here. We're desperately trying to speed this up." They added in another reply that a hotfix is currently "sitting in the MS certification queue." 

So there you have it. Pocketpair is working to align the Xbox version of Palworld with the Steam version as quickly as possible, but it has to get through Microsoft's red tape to do so. In the meantime, Game Pass players are stuck playing a less feature-rich version of the game. Here's hoping that future patches can get through Microsoft's certification process a bit faster.

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.