What started off as a relatively obscure survival game known colloquially as “Pokémon With Guns” has officially become the biggest third-party Game Pass launch of all time, as Palworld has reached 19 million players in just under two weeks. That’s a lot of people catching legally distinct Not-Pokémon and forcing them into slave labor.
According to developer Pocketpair, 12 million of those players are on Steam, while Xbox Wire says that Xbox and Windows PC make up the remaining 7 million. The game launched on Game Pass, meaning subscribers of Microsoft’s service were able to play the game for free when it launched in Early Access on January 19. The fact that more players have gravitated to the Steam version makes some sense, given that it allows more people to play together in multiplayer for the time being. But regardless of the split, the numbers are pretty wild to see.
While Xbox only allows multiplayer sessions for up to four people at the moment, the Xbox Wire post says Microsoft is working to change that by “providing support to enable dedicated servers.” The company also intends to improve Palworld on Xbox by “offering engineering resources to help with GPU and memory optimization, speeding up the process to make Palworld updates available for players, and working with the team to optimize the title for our platform.” So if you want to play Palworld on console but also want to play with more of your friends, it looks like Microsoft is breaking down barriers to bring more multiplayer support in the future.
Palworld has been a runaway success, but it’s been a lightning rod for controversy, too, primarily for its similarities to the Pokémon franchise. The Pokémon Company released a statement saying it plans to “investigate” the game for possible copyright infringement, but Pocketpair says it’s not worried about a lawsuit.