Palworld may be in trouble — The Pokémon Company issues official statement saying it'll take 'appropriate measures'

Palworld screenshot
(Image credit: Pocketpair)

The gaming community has been lit up this week the ever-increasing popularity of Palworld. The controversial game has been dubbed "Pokémon with guns” and has already blown past eight million sales since its early access launch last week (Friday, January 19).

Palworld has become the video game everyone is talking about and now its drawn fire from the brand that inspired it. The Pokémon Company has issued an official statement concerning the game that could have Japanese developer Pocket Pair a little bit worried.

Although the statement — issued today, January 25 — doesn't name Palworld directly, the inference is still crystal clear. The company says it won't permit any use of the Pokémon IP and "intends to investigate" any infringement of rights related to Pokémon. 

Here's the full statement (via NintendoLife):

"We have received many inquiries regarding another company’s game released in January 2024. We have not granted any permission for the use of Pokémon intellectual property or assets in that game. 

"We intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokémon. We will continue to cherish and nurture each and every Pokémon and its world, and work to bring the world together through Pokémon in the future."

What is Palworld?

Palworld screenshot

(Image credit: Pocketpair)

Like Fortnite and PUBG before it, Palworld is a third-person, open-world survival game. Players can explore a huge world and interact with numerous animal-like inhabitants, known as Pals. 

There are more than 130 Pals in total, and each of them can be battled in combat, weakened and then captured using a “Pal Sphere”. Sound familiar? 

Once you’ve captured a Pal, you can do several things with it, including summoning them in combat to assist you or stationing them at your home base to help with crafting. It's a multiplayer game so up to four players can team up and explore the world together. 

Palworld: How successful is it?

Palworld screenshot

(Image credit: Pocketpair)

It's fair to say the game has exploded in popularity since launching last week. Sales have already surpassed eight million and its only the sixth game in history to have more than a million Steam players concurrently.

As well as being available on Steam, the game is also available on Xbox Game Pass. However, 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.

Whether threats and legal action from either The Pokémon Company or Nintendo are able to derail Palworld's success remain to be seen. But given the obvious similarities between the two franchises, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a battle jump from cyberspace to a courtroom in the near future.      

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Jeff Parsons
UK Editor In Chief

Jeff is UK Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide looking after the day-to-day output of the site’s British contingent. Rising early and heading straight for the coffee machine, Jeff loves nothing more than dialling into the zeitgeist of the day’s tech news.

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