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Palworld continues to break records, with 1.8 million concurrent players on Steam

The second highest ever

Palworld screenshot of a defeated Relaxaurus
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Pocketpair

Palworld, that survival game mashup, continues to grow in popularity. In the past 24 hours, its peak concurrent player count reached 1,864,421, the second highest of any game on Steam, ever. It took that spot from Counter-Strike 2 and the only game to reach higher is now PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, aka Plunkbat, aka PUBG.

PUBG's number one spot is a ways out in front with a peak concurrent player count of 3.2 million. It seems hard to imagine that being broken by Palworld, but on the other hand, it has sold six million copies in four days, so perhaps anything is possible.

Katharine has been playing Palworld and is less than impressed, finding it a cynical, joyless, possibly meanspirited mixture of Pokémon creature designs with Ark: Survival Evolved-style survival and crafting systems.

Edwin, meanwhile, has spoken to a lawyer about those creature designs and whether Palworld infringes Pokémon's copyright. The growing consensus seems to be that the designs probably do enough to just skirt around any possible restrictions - although it's a different story if you're trying to make a mod that adds Pokémon to Palworld.

It's of little surprise to me that Palworld is popular with players or that it's unpopular with critics. There ought to be a difference between critical and commercial consensus in games more often - just as, y'know, Fast X can make hundreds of millions at the box office without Louis Leterrier being expected to pick up an Oscar nomination or Jason Momoa's performance being expected to get glorious praise from the New Yorker's film critics.

Even if it is trash - and I haven't played it, so I have no opinion either way - I can find reasons to be cheerful about Palworld's success. For one, it seems like a continuation of what Pocketpair were doing with Overdungeon, a game I enjoyed. For two, it's evidence that a hugely successful game really can come from anywhere. I'll be interested to see how many of those players it's retained a couple of months from now.

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