Legal experts weigh in on Palworld plagiarism accusations as player and sales numbers continue to climb


Pocketpair’s creature-featured survivalbox Palworld continues to make waves across the wider gaming sphere, both in terms of wanted and unwanted attention. The game has once again hit a new all-time concurrency total as player numbers swelled to over 1.7 million on Steam – the second all-time peak in the platform’s history – while the game has sold over 6 million copies in just four days.

As player numbers keep climbing, so too does the need for patching and troubleshooting by the devs, as the support team received over 50K reports and recent patches focus on crushing bugs.

Of course, one of the bigger headlines is the wide assortment of plagiarism accusations that have been piled onto the game, a matter that doesn’t appear to bother Pocketpair CEO and lead developer Takuro Mizobe, who claims that the title has cleared all legal hurdles. “We make our games very seriously, and we have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies,” he says.

This in turn has brought forth legal expert opinions on the subject, namely Don McGowan, the former head of The Pokemon Company’s legal team, who referred to Palworld as “the usual ripoff nonsense that I would see a thousand times a year when I was Chief Legal Officer of Pokemon” and expressed his surprise that the game got as far as it did. Meanwhile, lawyers from a firm that specializes in video game legal matters state that Pocketpair is likely in no danger, primarily because of legal precedents set regarding inspiration and “taking colleagues’ ideas.”

It’s further important to note that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company haven’t made any legal moves against Pocketpair or Palworld as of yet. What has roused The Big N’s legal ire, however, is a mod that changed the Pal models in Palworld to literal Pokemon, as a video promoting the mod was hit with a DMCA strike and communities for the survivalbox are now quickly de-listing the mod out of fear of legal retaliation.

sources: Steamcharts, Twitter (1, 2, 3, 4), Automaton via Kotaku, Game File, Bloomberg, and Gamesradar via VG247 (1, 2)
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