Microsoft says Palworld is the biggest ever third-party Game Pass launch

The ‘Pokémon with guns’ satire has sold 19 million copies since its January 19 Early Access launch.


Palworld, the viral “Pokémon with guns” game that launched in Early Access to mixed reviews, has already sold 19 million copies. Developer Pocketpair says it’s sold 12 million copies on Steam and seven million on Xbox since its January 19 launch (after selling over a million in its first eight hours). Microsoft says the tongue-in-cheek Pokémon satire is the biggest third-party launch on Game Pass.

“The response from fans has been tremendous and it’s incredible to see the millions of players around the world enjoying Palworld,” Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe told Xbox Wire. “This is just the beginning for us and Palworld, and the feedback we’re gathering while in Game Preview will allow us to continue to improve the experience for Pal Tamers across all platforms.”

In addition to being the biggest third-party Game Pass launch ever, Palworld had the largest third-party day-one launch on Xbox Cloud Gaming (included with Game Pass Ultimate). The game’s highest peak since launch was nearly three million daily active users on Xbox. Microsoft says it was the most-played game on Xbox platforms during that period.

A screen from the game Palworld, showing pink creatures carrying raw materials in an orderly line. Flaming machines sit behind them.

Palworld uses Pokémon-esque characters and themes — enough to catch the attention of Nintendo’s lawyers. It has battles with monsters similar to those in the creature-collecting series, including the ability to capture them inside a sphere after winning.

But Palworld also includes biting social commentary and incorporates themes you’d never see in Pokémon — like labor exploitation. “Don’t worry, there are no labor laws for Pals,” a game FAQ reads. One of the title’s trailers showed a player circling hard-at-work Pals with an assault rifle. “Creating a productive base like this is the secret to living a comfortable life in Palworld,” the narration reads.

Microsoft emphasized that the developer is still hard at work on the Early Access title. “There’s much more to come as Pocketpair refine the experience ahead of a full 1.0 release,” Xbox Wire’s Joe Skrebels wrote. He says Pocketpair is listening to player feedback and applying what they’ve learned. He added that cross-play, one of the most requested features, is coming.

Even if early impressions of the game’s fun and polish are hit-or-miss (at best), having Microsoft in its corner could help the developer tighten up Palworld significantly. The Windows maker says it’s supporting the game by enabling dedicated servers and offering engineering resources to help optimize GPU and memory workload. Palworld posted on X it will “continue to prioritize fixing bugs.”

Palworld is available in Early Access for $30 (and included in Game Pass) on Xbox and PC (including Steam).