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Palworld has achieved more players in 2 months than Elden Ring and Hogwarts Legacy managed in a year

Just one month after launch, Pocketpair says Palworld (or, as we’ve called it, “the Pokémon this sinful world deserves“) has now surpassed 25 million players across Steam and Xbox.

Palworld isn’t flying quite as high as it was in January, when it became just the second game in the history of Steam—behind PUBG—to rack up more than two million concurrent players. The peak concurrent player count over the last 24 hours is 344,577, according to Steam Charts, a significant dropoff but, let’s be honest, still the kind of number that most developers would kill for (and one that Pocketpair doesn’t seem too worried about). It remains firmly ensconced near the top of Steam’s most-played games chart, currently wedged between PUBG and the surging action RPG Last Epoch.

To put that number in perspective, Hogwarts Legacy—one of the biggest games of 2023—took roughly three months to achieve 15 million sales across all platforms, a number that eventually grew to 22 million by the end of 2023, while Elden Ring—one of the biggest games of 2022—moved more than 20 million copies in just under a year. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison and the math is admittedly rough, but it really illustrates that Palworld is absolutely massive by any measure.

25 million players does not necessarily equate to 25 million sales. Palworld has been on Game Pass from the day it came out and it did gangbusters numbers there, becoming the biggest third-party launch in the history of Microsoft’s subscription service. But the bulk of that number—15 million—comes from Steam, and on Steam, as my dear departed granddad used to say, “If you wanna play, you gotta pay.”

And people are definitely paying. To update the very back-of-napkin calculations we did earlier this month when Pocketpair announced it was sinking nearly $500,000 every month into keeping the Palworld servers up “no matter what,” 15 million sales on Steam at $30 each works out to (faint adding machine noises) $450,000,000. Shave 30% off that for Steam’s cut—the percentage actually drops to 25% for games that earn between $10 and $50 million, and then 20% for those that exceed $50 million, but I want to keep this simple—and you’re left with (more faint adding machine noises) $315 million.

That’s a whole lotta dosh, baby, and it completely excludes Xbox sales. And even if 90% of Xbox players are coming in by way of Game Pass (I have no idea what the actual percentage might be, I would guess that 90% is a massive overestimate but it also leaves us with a nice round number to work with), that would still add up to another $30 million in revenue before Microsoft’s cut. That’s just gravy—millions and millions of dollars of gravy.

The new figures also represent impressive ongoing growth for Palworld. Pocketpair reported hitting 12 million sales on Steam and seven million players on Xbox just three weeks ago.

For comparison purposes, Enshrouded—the other big survival game to arrive in January, just five days after Palworld—achieved two million players earlier this week, just under a month after it went live. It’s deep in the mix on the Steam top 100 games chart too, albeit a good bit lower than Palworld: It currently holds the 24th spot, behind EA Sports FC and ahead of Dead by Daylight. It’s a legitimate indie hit too—just not, you know, a phenom.

The 25 million figure is a far cry from the real behemoths out there. Call of Duty: Warzone, for instance, broke 100 million players back in 2021. But Palworld also isn’t a multi-studio effort with a zillion-dollar budget shepherded by one of the world’s biggest videogame publishers, and I think any comparison of the two has to keep that in mind.

So it’s fair to say that things are going pretty well with Palworld—almost too well in some respects. But Pocketpair isn’t settling in to coast: The studio recently announced plans to crack down on cheating, and earlier this month said “awesome” new content is coming, although it’s going to take “a little bit of time” to appear. At this point, I suppose they can afford to take their time.

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