Palworld’s Early-Access Success Is An Incredibly Strong Start For The Game

Came out of nowhere, and is now looking to go as big as Fortnite.

Story Highlights

  • Palworld is Pocketpair’s latest action-packed survival-centric game that features an open-world setting. 
  • Anticipation and hype for Palworld was lukewarm, but the game has surpassed all expectations. 
  • The title is currently the most concurrently played paid game on Steam, trailing just behind PUBG.

So as the Summer Games Fest in 2023 dawned upon us in the heat of June, there came Palworld with its refreshing satirical take on the Pokemon universe—or so it seemed that way back then. You really don’t expect something grand from an okay-looking imitation of another major franchise, do you? But it’s all about how little did we know what was really coming our way. 

Fast-forward to the Xbox Tokyo Game Show, Palworld went on to receive a more in-depth trailer that showcased its various gameplay elements to a reasonable extent. Players felt better enticed to try the game out, but the notion of unfulfillment and uncertainty still remained, and the likelihood of the third-person shooter slipping under everyone’s radar was still utterly possible.

Now that Palworld has actually come out on January 19, 2024, the industry has been taken aback by the game’s wildly bustling success, with players seeping in from God knows where and piling up on that concurrent user figure that SteamDB shows us day in and day out. Not even a week has passed since Palworld’s release, and it’s already broken records previously set by mega-hits such as Baldur’s Gate 3.

And the cherry on top? The version of Palworld available to players right now isn’t even full-scale. It’s merely the survival title’s early access that Pocketpair plans to extend at least up to 1 year in an attempt to “keep fine-tuning [the game] based on feedback from players.” If things go right, and there’s a high chance they do, expect this lovechild of Ark and Pokemon to make a boom in the coming years.

Palworld Rolling Over 4 Million Units in 3 Days, a Testament to the Game's Early Access Success
Palworld Rolling Over 4 Million Units in 3 Days, a Testament to the Game’s Early Access Success

A Round-Up Of The Game’s Sprawling Early Access Success

For those who’ve missed the spree of Palworld news that apparently pops up every hour or so, thanks to the immense rate at which the game’s success is progressing, here is a rundown of what the title has been able to achieve so far. Good reception for a well-made free-to-play game like The Finals, which was released in relatively recent times isn’t way out of the ordinary, but Palworld is a paid title, with little to no anticipation prior to its release—that’s what makes this whole scenario flat-out fascinating.

Sales

To begin with, things kicked off for Pocketpair quite eloquently when merely 8 hours passed into the title’s release. That’s when the developer announced 1 million copies sold. Boom. At this point, a lot more people were possibly enticed to get into this new sensation, because, you know, word travels pretty fast on the internet and the fear of missing out has encompassed the younger generation. 

As soon as 24 hours went by, that figure got kicked right up to 2 million, already making Palworld one of the fastest-selling early-access games in the business. Now, with the almost conclusion of the second day of the survival game’s release, the Palworld X account issued another update on its end, announcing a whopping 3 million units rolled over. Pretty incredible, right? But wait, the numbers don’t stop there.

Now that Palworld’s launch has passed three days, sales shifted another gear, taking things up to 4 million at the time of writing. Gosh, that X (formerly Twitter) account admin must love writing these and designing that graphic over and over again with a new first digit, right? Anyway, the post included an important piece of info this time around, affirming that the sales rate is 86,000 units per hour

Let’s see how long this rush lasts. For reference, the game costs $9.44 on Steam, but $29.99 on Xbox. It also got added to Xbox Game Pass on the day of its release — the platform’s front-running subscription service — so if you’re a member, you get to play at no additional cost. Lastly, there’s no PlayStation 5 version as of yet, but Pocketpair says that a port could be considered down the road.

Concurrent Players 

The sales figures are pivotal to any title’s success, of course, being the only thing that truly matters at the end of the day, but another metric that you, as a player, can gauge with regard to Palworld is the amount of attention the title is getting as we speak. Since SteamDB makes it possible to track a game’s player stats at any given time, we’ll only be shedding light on Palworld’s sprawling PC player base for now.

So, one day after Palworld’s release, it was clocked that the third-person shooter had amassed more than 730,000 concurrent players on Steam—that’s stupidly big, but again, just like the sales scenario, this gets better, way better. At the time, the title landed on the 10th spot of any game to have the highest all-time peak in Steam’s history.   

As the title started to rake in more sales and gradually spread itself across the globe, more and more players wanted to figure out what the whole fuss was about. The aforementioned concurrent player count quickly jumped up to 1 million the very next day, trailing only behind Cyberpunk 2077, and another unnamed title at this time. 

As forecasted, Palworld then overtook CDPR’s now-redeemed Cyberpunk 2077 as well, acquiring a colossal figure of 1,21,226 players on Steam later yesterday. On a side note, don’t forget that the game’s Xbox user base is completely separate from all this, even if it adds only a little to the total sum. The only title Palworld didn’t beat in becoming Steam’s most-played game ever by concurrency as of yet is PUBG. 

The reason you don’t see PUBG on the Steam charts below is that it’s no longer a paid game. 6 years ago when it was, the live service shooter gathered more than 3.2 million players at one time, blowing the competition away by a far mile. Developer PUBG Studios later transitioned the title’s business model to a free-to-play one on January 12, 2022, though.  

As of right now, Palworld’s latest player figure has stretched even more than its previous standing, making things come to a momentary rest at about 1,291,967 users. Let’s wait and see if more people come in and push the latter to the 2 million mark, perhaps even beyond. 

Palworld's All-Time Player Peak At the Time of Writing
Palworld’s All-Time Player Peak At the Time of Writing

Reviews 

Although reviews are pretty inconclusive for a game that’s merely in its beta stage, you still can’t help but look at what the critics are saying about Palworld around the globe. On Metacritic, major gaming authorities from around the world hold Pocketpair’s latest venture in high regard, commending its exceptionally fun playability, the sheer amount of involved depth, limitless exploration, and overall charm.

And to talk about player reviews on Steam who have all dived into the title’s early access phase, there’s nothing but glad tidings here to report on as well. Amid all the controversies that have encompassed Palworld though, mainly ethical concerns signaling the blatant imitation of the Pokemon franchise, fans are loving every second of what the title has to offer.  

Palworld's Review Rating on Steam
Palworld’s Review Rating on Steam

Things have advanced to that point where fans are actually calling out Nintendo for not giving them what they wanted for all these years now, with one user saying, “If you love Pokemon and survival games like Ark, pick this absolute banger up. You won’t regret it.” I’m factoring in all these positive reviews in the equation where Pocketpair has a vision laid out for improving Palworld, so automatically, it’s not rocket science to presume that the full release of the game is going to be even better than what it is now. 

Grab this game! Let me put it this way, if Nintendo knew what they were doing and listened to people other than themselves, they’d be releasing the 5th version of this game by now, and they still wouldn’t come close to something so full featured,” reads a Palworld review on Steam. 

Palworld Fulfills The Dream Of Every Pokemon Player

Take it this way, Palworld’s success doesn’t come from the sole imitation of Pokemon — a world-renowned medium of entertainment — and all its pertinent assets. Instead, what’s of true praise here is the game’s robust gameplay foundation that somehow manages to blend two universally acclaimed mechanics in a way that’s just … fun.

For starters, there’s the collection of Pals and the number of things you can do to them or with them. Second, there’s the build-and-survive element à la Ark: Survival Evolved. Merge these two in near-perfect fashion, and you get Palworld. The notion already smells like success, but a mere idea does not change anything—it’s the execution that matters from there on out. Thankfully, it seems like Pocketpair knew exactly what it was doing developing this IP.  

YouTube video

One of the other things that makes Palworld so unique and stand out is its gameplay diversity. It doesn’t let you interact with just your Pals in a diversity of ways, i.e. catch, kill, breed, or employ, but the game makes it possible to capture and use human NPCs as well in a way that they are useful to your squad and base. Speaking of which, make sure to check in with the best base locations in-game as you explore the Palpagos Islands.

The Game’s Initial Reception Paints A Bright Future For Itself 

Let’s face it—The Pokemon Company has been taking its front-running IP in a somewhat linear direction with all the recent Pokemon games, so when something like Palworld comes along that takes that magnificently established formula, adds its own spin to it, and pushes out a well-grounded product that appeals to the masses like crazy, people are going to line up in spades to try out this hot new buzz. 

With Palworld out and about, tearing up Steam charts like an animal gone rogue, it’s clear that the future looks sharp for an IP of this nature. It’s also very possible that Palworld goes on to inspire other developers and studios to imitate the so-called “Pokemon with guns” concept with their own particular flavor. In a decade from now, the competition could get severe, with one or two entries reigning supreme while greatly elevating the standard of these types of games while doing so.  

Takeaway – A Unique Ripoff? 

Sounds pretty counterintuitive, right? But really now, it doesn’t take an expert to realize that this title’s visuals, art, and characters draw obvious inspiration from the iconic Pokemon series, so automatically, that leads to an array of controversy heading straight to Palworld’s way. The subject of plagiarism has been thrown around a lot recently, following the game’s success, with many calling it out for ripping off Pokemon. 

https://twitter.com/Andy_VGC/status/1748747935985140009

But then again, if you side-step the ethics debate for a minute there and perceive Palworld as a game that’s trying to stamp out its own identity, you’ll be surprised at what it brings to the table. And that’s a solid gameplay foundation with a ton of depth to its name, solid survival mechanics that make crafting, Pal-hunting, and surviving not a chore nor a quest for making it through, but genuinely enjoyable, and worth the time.  

Game is pretty fun if you asked me.
byu/Ares_carries inPalworld

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Huzaifa, an Online News Editor at eXputer.com, is a video game industry aficionado with a talent for unearthing the juiciest stories for his beloved readers. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science, he dives deep into the abyss of news, meticulously dissecting every tiny detail to serve his audience. When he's not unravelling breaking news, he becomes a master storyteller, conjuring up captivating tales from the depths of his imagination. With a wealth of experience as a Video Game Journalist, he's penned his mighty words for numerous other video game outlets, leaving no video game unturned and no pixel unexplored! Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor of Science in Data Science || Previously Worked at VeryAli Gaming & TheNerdMag || Covered 100+ News Articles

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