Palworld’s release not faced with legal issues, according to dev
PocketPair’s highly anticipated open-world survival craft game Palworld launched in Early Access on January 19. The game is available for the PC (Steam), Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. In an interview with Automaton, PocketPair’s CEO Takuro Mizobe addressed rumors of Palworld’s release being met with potential legal issues, particularly concerning copyright infringement.
Palworld made history as it launched last week, selling over 30 million copies worldwide in only 40 hours after its release. At the time of writing, the game has peaked at a staggering 1,291,967 concurrent users (SteamDB). Although the game has been performing outstandingly well, there were concerns about similarities to the Pokémon series in the run-up to Palworld’s launch, with some users even questioning if the game could be legally released.
Though more pronounced among Japanese users than among English speakers, Palworld continues to receive criticism even post-release. The criticism largely revolves around alleged plagiarism of the Pokémon series and its character designs. This has resulted in heated arguments on social media, with one side defending the title and the other asserting that there is indeed plagiarism involved. The debate around Palworld even led to the words “rip-off” trending on the Japanese version of X.
On the other hand, we had a chance to talk to PocketPair’s CEO Takuro Mizobe before Palworld’s release, and addressing this topic, Mizobe mentioned that Palworld has cleared legal reviews, and that there has been no action taken against it by other companies. Mizobe shared PocketPair’s stance on the issue, stating, “We make our games very seriously, and we have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies.”
Mizobe has also commented that, in his personal opinion, Palworld is not at all that similar to Pokémon, even citing other IPs that Palworld more closely resembles. (Related article) He encouraged users to see past the rumors and give Palworld a chance.
Though it released just a few days ago, Palworld’s concept and content has been open to the public for quite a while, and were even presented at the Tokyo Game Show in both 2022 and 2023. Many users are of the opinion that, if there were basis for plagiarism-related legal action, the relevant parties would have already acted by now.