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Pokémon-with-guns Palworld Hits 1m Concurrent Steam Players Despite AI Allegations

Palworld how to heal
Image: Pocketpair

Palworld, a survival game with a sillier and sometimes darker take on Pokémon, has hit one million concurrent Steam players. That’s a massive achievement that, in the last ten-or-so years, only five other games have hit.

No, we don’t mean that’s how many copies this early access game has sold. It’s actually sold three million copies, rocketing it to the top of Steam’s top sellers list. At one point in the last 24 hours, more than 1 million people – 1,006,400 people, to be exact – were playing at the same time, just on Steam.

That’s a huge, huge win for Palworld creator Pocketpair. The dev has boasted that it’s “The 2nd highest in the history of paid games on Steam!” At the very least, it’s the 2nd highest in the 12 years SteamDB has been around. PUBG: Battlegrounds, Counter-Strike 2, Lost Ark, Dota 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 have also hit that magic number. But of those, only Cyberpunk 2077, which beat Palworld with 1,054,388 concurrent Steam players, isn’t free-to-play.

That figure’s excluding Xbox, Game Pass and Epic Games Store players, too. So Palworld’s devs are no doubt buying a huge Scrooge McDuck-style money bin, but the game’s release has attracted a little controversy. No, PETA hasn’t waded in on the game’s monster-enslavement, though it’s probably only a matter of time. Instead, Pocketpair has been accused of employing AI in Palworld’s creation.

As reported by VGC, some are claiming Palworld’s designs are a little too close Pokémon’s own. They’re alleging that AI has been used to generate Palworld’s monsters, with the AI potentially drawing from Nintendo/Game Freak’s own designs. The game is a cheeky riff on Pokémon, so there’s bound to be similarities and there’s no solid, irrefutable evidence. But the company has previously put out a title that had AI at its core, which doesn’t help clear things up. Pocketpair has yet to comment.

Palworld is out now in early access/game preview on Xbox and PC. You can buy it from Steam, the Epic Games Store and the Microsoft Store. It’s also part of Microsoft’s current Game Pass offerings on both console and PC. It’s not available on PlayStation but to help you scratch that Pokémon itch, here are the best games like Pokémon on PS4 and PS5.

Weekend Editor // Chris has been gaming since the days of the Acorn Electron, which was allegedly purchased to 'help him with his homework'. You can probably guess how well that went. He’ll tackle most genres – football titles aside – though he has a taste for games that that are post-apocalyptic, horror-oriented or thought provoking in nature.