The Pokémon-with-guns-and-abusive-labor-practices game Palworld is off to a roaring early access launch on Steam, racking up 370,000 concurrent users (and counting) in its first day of release. That's proving to be a bit of a problem for the game's servers, which are buckling under the stream, but developer Pocketpair says it's working on the problem, and in the meantime says you should just keep hammering on it until you get it.
To paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson's thoughts on Snakes on a Plane, people either want to play this game or they don't. I think the concept is just awful enough to be potentially funny—you can literally eat your Pals if you're feeling peckish and they're not serving any other useful purpose—but Lincoln Carpenter found it mostly off-putting and gross, saying it "could be a delight if it wasn't so invested in being awful,"
"It's over-committing to the bit, except the bit in this case is, well, abusive labor conditions and animal cruelty," he wrote after spending some time with it. "And not only is the bit bad—it's actively making the rest of the game worse ... The crafting and survival in Palworld is only interesting when it's driving me to make decisions on how I deploy my Pals, but instead of doubling down on what sets it apart, Palworld draws out its progression just so I can terrorize my Pals for a shortcut."
Whether Palworld will be able to keep things rolling once the gag wears off is an open question, but right now curiosity rules the roost. It's currently the top-selling game on Steam, and at this moment boasts 370,059 concurrent players, according to Steam Charts. That's enough to put it near the top of Steam's top 100 most-play games, between Apex Legends and PUBG—not bad for a weird Poké-knockoff.
In case there's any doubt it's a hit, developer Pocketpair said that just eight hours after going live, Palworld has already sold more than one million copies. That's a heckuva start!
Alas, with the good news comes some bad. "Hello everyone, We are blown away with the response to Palworld and we're doing our best to respond to your issues!" Pocketpair tweeted.
"Currently, our server provider is reporting that due to the large amount of concurrent players, the servers have become unstable and you may be experiencing issues connecting to servers. We are working to resolve this ASAP! In the meantime, some users have reported success in attempting to connect 2-3 times or waiting after launching the game."
It's a good problem to have, but it's still a problem. It's not keeping everyone out of the game, but some players on Steam and Reddit are clearly having issues. (There are also questions like "How do I get Pal juice," and I'm not clicking that one but if you're curious, we have a guide.)
Pocketpair has already released one hotfix for Palworld that corrected an issue making the game "dark and unplayable," and hopefully they'll get the server situation squared away quickly too. As big as the current player number is, it's a good bet it will only grow over the weekend. I've reached out to Pocketpair to ask if there's any timeline for when it expects the server issues to be fixed, and will update if I receive a reply.