Palworld's Plagiarism Controversy
Gaming News Palworld

Palworld's Plagiarism Controversy: CEO Responds to Pokémon Copying Claims

Nathan Lees
Nathan Lees

In the world of gaming, originality and creativity are often celebrated, but the line between inspiration and plagiarism can sometimes blur. This is the case with the recent breakout hit, Palworld, developed by Pocketpair. Since its launch, Palworld has seen immense success, with over 5 million sales and a peak of 1.3 million concurrent Steam players. However, this success has been overshadowed by growing accusations of plagiarism, particularly concerning its character designs' striking resemblance to those in the Pokémon series.

The controversy intensified when Takuro Mizobe, the game’s director and CEO of Pocketpair, responded to these allegations. While Mizobe did not outright deny the influence from Pokémon, he emphasized the online abuse and threats directed at the game's artists, urging for it to cease. The situation escalated when an anonymous Twitter user, 'Byo', posted videos comparing Palworld's in-game 3D models to those of Pokémon, suggesting that they were likely copied. These comparisons, while not showing exact replicas, indicated nearly identical proportions to models from Pokémon's Scarlet and Violet games.

This development has caught the attention of industry experts. Two experienced AAA game artists, stated that the similarities in proportions are unlikely to be coincidental and could be seen as compelling evidence of plagiarism. One artist even mentioned their willingness to testify in court regarding this.

The legal implications are significant. The Pokémon Company, known for its protective stance over its intellectual property, could potentially pursue legal action if the allegations hold. David Hansel, an intellectual property and digital media lawyer, that if the similarities in the 3D models are proven, it could be a decisive factor in any legal case.

Despite the controversy, Mizobe maintains that Palworld has cleared legal reviews and insists that there has been no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies. The gaming community remains divided, with some seeing this as a case of artistic inspiration, while others view it as a clear instance of intellectual property infringement.

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