The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Palworld: Inspiration or imitation?

Recently, a new game has started to make huge waves within many online spaces with all of its controversy: Palworld. Many digital denizens have pointed to it as potentially infringing on Pokémon as an intellecutal property.

According to Palworld’s official X account, the multiplayer open-world role-play game, sold over 5 million copies over the first three days it was available across Windows and Xbox consoles, with many online expecting the number to continue rising fast.

The game has been so frequented that it has beaten Counter-Strike for the second-most-played game ever on Steam, a platform for the purchase and playing of video games on Windows devices. According to SteamDB, as of Jan. 27, Palworld hit a peak number of players online at the same time with 2,101,867. This is a significant increase over its previous peak number, 1,864,421 on Jan. 23.

So, with so many people enjoying the game, why is there so much controversy? Well, that revolves around its similarities to Pokémon.

From as far back as the release of its first trailer, Palworld has been compared to Pokémon for its similar designs and premises, to the extent that some have even coined it “Pokémon with guns.”

Even IGN, one of the best-known websites for video game news, reviews and walkthroughs, has touched on the discourse surrounding the game, with a Jan. 23 post referring to Palworld as a  “sort-of-Pokémon” game.

However, despite all of the attention created by the controversy, it seems there would be very little that the Pokémon Company and Nintendo could do legally. According to a statement published on the Pokémon Company’s website, the company and Nintendo now are looking into the game for possible copyright infringement.

Here at Guilford, when asked what they thought about Palworld, most people did not know what it was. So, despite its well-known status among gamers, it’s still relatively unknown by the majority of people, probably at least in part because it’s such a new game.

However, fellow gamer Josh Hall did have a very emotional response when asked about the game. “It’s everything the fans wanted, nothing is what you expect, and it’s like a bad mashup between Ark Survival: Evolved and Pokémon,” he said.

Hall’s description is similar to that among many gamers online–that Palworld feels at least Pokémon-adjacent, but not enough to be called a a straight-up rip-off. The sentiment that the game is also what people would want to see in a main series Pokémon game has been brought up pretty often on social media platforms, with many gamers theorizing that’s why so many people have been playing Palworld.

With all of the controversy surrounding Palworld, and the Pokémon Company looking into all of the copyright infringement allegations, it’s likely that more information will come out soon about potential legal situations for the game. Until then, video game insiders predict that Palworld will continue to rack up more sales across consoles and set new records for the number of online players.


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