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Palworld was launched into Early Access on PC and Xbox on January 19, 2024. Notwithstanding the lingering controversy around its character design, the game quickly sold 8 million copies in six days, making it a huge breakout success for Pocketpair.

Pocketpair Shares Palworld Roadmap As Game Exceed 2 Million Concurrent Players. 3 Lessons I Learned

Palworld’s growing popularity has also ignited more discussions around the similarities between its character designs and those of Pokémon games—and fans of the Nintendo franchise have been seething about it. Several images appeared on Palworld’s launch weekends comparing the characters from the game to their perceived Pokémon model.

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The Pokémon Company finally broke their silence on Thursday, January 25, 2024, saying they intend to investigate if there was an infringement on their IP rights. According to The Pokémon Company, they have not permitted anyone to use their assets or intellectual property. See The Pokemon Company’s official statement below.

The Pokémon Company Release Official Statement On Palworld, Said “We Intend To Investigate”

“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.”

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Although there was no mention of Palworld in the statement, there was no confusion regarding the game being referred to. It will be interesting weeks and months ahead as we keep our fingers crossed in wait for the outcome of the investigation by The Pokémon Company.

What aspects of Palworld possibly infringe on Pokémon’s IP rights?

Even before the release of Palworld, Pocketpair has always emphasized that the game is closer to Vanaheim and Ark Survival Evolved than Pokemon. In a recent interview with Automaton, Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe reiterated that Pokemon was so good that he doesn’t think he can compare Palworld to it.

Mizobe also claimed that they have checked with their legal team to make sure Palworld had no legal infringements. “We make our games very seriously, and we have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies,” Mizobe said.

The Pokémon Company Release Official Statement On Palworld, Said “We Intend To Investigate”

In terms of gameplay, Palworld and Pokémon are worlds apart. Palworld is tilted towards a survival game with catching and taming monsters being an additional perk. Pocketpair also agreed that Palworld was influenced by several other games. However, it is hard to tell whether what Palworld has done is outright plagiarism or drawing inspiration.

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Nevertheless, the thick of the controversy has centered around the character designs of Palworld which appears to have too close for comfort resemblance to characters in the Pokémon series. An X user took the comparison beyond just pictures to placing the 3D models of the games side-by-side to reveal their almost identical proportions.

The Pokémon Company Release Official Statement On Palworld, Said “We Intend To Investigate”

Experienced AAA artists who spoke to VGC on the condition of anonymity confirmed that it was almost impossible for different models from two different games to have almost identical proportions without one copying from the other.

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“You cannot, in any way, accidentally get the same proportions on multiple models from another game without ripping the models. Or at the very least, tracing them meticulously first,” one senior character artist told VGC anonymously, adding: “I would stand in court to testify as an expert on this.”

One thing is for sure, this is going to be an interesting legal battle—if The Pokemon Company’s investigation finds claims tangible enough to drag Pocketpair to court. Nevertheless, the controversies have done nothing but continue to spike curiosity around Palworld and push up sales.


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