After a week of speculation, the Pokemon Company and Nintendo are investigating Palworld, a viral Pokemon clone that has sold over 8 million copies in less than a week.
Palworld, an open-world survival game for Windows PCs and Xbox, has sparked controversy due to its in-game characters closely resembling Pokemon, but with a darker twist.
While Pokemon focuses on capturing, trading, and battling creatures, Palworld introduces violence by allowing players to wield guns to destroy Pokemon-like creatures called “Pals.”
Despite its apparent cloning of Pokemon designs, the game’s unique mechanics, the addition of shooting and survival elements, and availability beyond Nintendo’s consoles have propelled it to the top of Steam’s (a video game digital distribution service) sales charts.
Accusations have surfaced, suggesting the use of AI by Palworld’s publisher, Pocketpair, to plagiarize Pokemon designs.
However, no evidence has been made public.
The controversy extends to the game’s distasteful content, allowing players to kill and eat their Pals, put them to work in factories, and even enslave human characters.
The Pokemon Company issued a statement, stating they haven’t granted permission to use Pokemon intellectual property in Palworld and intend to investigate further.
Palworld’s chief creator, Takuro Mizobe, reported receiving slanderous comments and apparent death threats.
Palworld’s exceptional success with 8 million copies sold in six days, becoming one of the fastest-selling games ever, adds complexity to the situation.
It achieved a peak of 2 million concurrent players on Steam, rivaling Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.
This controversy has surprised many, considering Nintendo’s usual litigious approach.
Nexus Mods, the largest mod repository, expressed discomfort hosting Palworld mods featuring Pokemon designs, anticipating legal risks.
As the investigation unfolds, the gaming community awaits the resolution of this clash between Palworld’s popularity and potential copyright infringement concerns.