The Palworld phenomenon has erupted in the gaming world, invading not only social networks with clips but also live-streaming channels from around the world.
The so-called “Pokémon with Guns” is shedding its nickname and establishing itself as a top rising game. In a recent post (in Japanese summarized in English over at Polygon), Takuro Mizobe, CEO of development studio Pocket Pair, called it a miracle and explained how the game’s development team grew to 40 people (plus outsourcing) over three years of development.
But what is the reason behind the Palworld explosion?
Let’s dive into some data, as usual:
Palworld was released on Early Access on Friday the 19th. We wrote about this surprising success story 3 days later, when the newborn title unexpectedly managed to rise in the crowded ranks.
Since then, and for the last 10 days, Palworld has been among the top three games by hours watched on major platforms: Twitch, YouTube, Kick and Steam.
Palworld is about to surpass a beast like League of Legends and is not too far behind Grand Theft Auto V, which sits on top. So far, big titles like Fortnite, Counter Strike and EA Sports FC 24 have seen the recently released game outperform them by far.
After the first three days of boom, the live-streaming numbers are still solid across all platforms and Palworld has skyrocketed to 63M hours watched, averaging 268k viewers and setting 545k peak viewers.
Interestingly enough, TikTok plays a part in its virality. According to PCgamer.com, Palworld content has 400M views on TikTok, giving a higher amount of visibility outside the live-streaming scene. This certainly adds up to its game sales and viewership across platforms
Where is Palworld More Popular?
This no longer sleeper hit is attracting streamers and viewers from all over the world, but the data shows that its epicentre is in Japan.
70% of the top creators across all platforms are Japanese, and here’s the most interesting takeaway: three-quarters of Palworld’s YouTube viewers come from Japanese channels.
The top 10 channels currently streaming Palworld are all from Japan, except for Squeezie (FR), Gronkh (DE) and Zackrawrr (EN).
All of them average +23k viewers, with Miko Chan having 33,000 average viewers and also leading the ranking with 52.5 peak viewers on YouTube Gaming.
The same country that birthed Pokémon, Japan, potentially contributes to the notable success of Palworld. Considering Palworld’s unique blend of survival and fps genre with Pokémon, this combination seems to be a winning formula in its homeland.
However, if we analyze the mentions of Palworld and Pokémon, we see that the mentions of Pokémon are gradually decreasing, while the mentions of Palworld are maintained and are even 9% higher than those of Pokémon in the last ten days.
And just to demystify the theory that Palworld’s success is due to its similarity to Pokémon, there is only a 5% overlap with viewers of major Pokémon titles like Pokémon Scarlet or Pokémon Violet.
This suggests that Palworld viewers don’t come from Pokémon titles, or aren’t even Pokémon fans, but come because of the under-the-radar success of Palworld.
In our Trends Report for 2024, we predicted that games with Action-adventure and RPG elements are becoming more popular. Certainly, Palworld has some of these elements embedded into its Survival genre.
These elements allow streamers to offer a slower, more dynamic experience to their audiences, giving them the opportunity for higher interactions with the chat. Unlike MOBAs or FPS games, which feature fast-paced gameplay that demands streamers’ intense focus on the game rather than their viewers, Palworld game does not possess such characteristics.
Just as players are catching ‘pals’ in the game, Palworld is doing the same with stats and viewers. We’ll keep you updated in the following posts, for now… Gotta catch’em Pal!
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