February 22, 2024

La Ronge Northerner

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Palworld lost two-thirds of its players in two weeks

Palworld lost two-thirds of its players in two weeks

While this is certainly not a “doomed Palworld position,” it is just something I think should be pointed out about what will unambiguously become one of the biggest surprise successes of 2024, even though it was this early in the year.

Palworld managed to grab the #2 concurrent peak of all time on Steam at 2.1 million players. Hugely impressive, putting it ahead of games like Dota 2 and CS:GO. However, things started to decline fairly quickly, although totals continued to rise in context.

That peak of 2.1 million was about 15 days ago, and Now we see things closer to 750,000 instead, with its peak falling by about two-thirds during that time period. Again, that He is Enough to keep it in second place on Steam currently, behind only CS2, and still do multiples of a new “hit” game like Helldivers 2 at 120-150k.

However, I wonder what things will look like for Palworld in the long term. Was it just a “craze” that would continue to lose players rapidly? Or is it something that will actually have legs and maybe it won't direct A Pokemon rival, something that could at least take some big shots from the seemingly impenetrable franchise.

The only thing I think is a big problem with such a steep decline so quickly is that this isn't just an individual game. Its main feature is that it is a live survival game that you can play on populated multiplayer servers. And even if not, this is a game with truly long-term goals and objectives, from reaching max level, to building sprawling bases, to completing your Paldeck, to raising and raising powerful friends that can take eons to fully form. But the 1.4 million or so players seemed to check out all the hype and dropped a few days later.

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No matter what happens now, Palworld will be considered a massive success. It's important to keep in mind that this is not a free-to-play game, and all of these players paid between $25-$30 for their copy. Hundreds of millions of dollars are headed to small developer Pocketpair, which is said to be a bit overwhelmed right now trying to keep up with its newfound expansion needs.

I'm mostly curious to see if this decline will continue, or if it will level off with a number of healthy, consistent players over the long term. Stabilizing even a few hundred thousand casual players would be great. A drop below 100k in less than a month would be less serious, and indicates that it may not have legs, despite its undeniable initial success. I'll keep an eye on it to be sure, either way.

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