Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa has made his position clear on Pocketpair title Palworld.
As reported by Video Games Chronicle, Furukawa was asked about the game in the company’s latest financial earnings call.
Nintendo just revealed that Nintendo Switch sales, while slowing down, has now sold enough units to be the best selling console of all time in Japan. In the same earnings call, Furukawa stated that the Nintendo Switch was the company’s main business coming into 2024.
When asked about Palworld, Furukawa had a short and simple response:
“We will take appropriate action against those that infringe our intellectual property rights.”
From the onset, Pocketpair’s survival action game faced controversy. Although the game’s design is closer to Ark Survival Evolved, the design of its many creatures, called Pals, were uncomfortably close to those found in Nintendo’s Pokemon.
The game faced accusations of plagiarism, and also that it used AI generated art. However, this controversy did not take away from its success, and may have even contributed to it. As of last week, Palworld has confirmed to have 19 million players, 12 million of which were on Steam, and 7 million on Xbox.
Palworld happens to be only on Xbox for now, not because Microsoft signed it up for an exclusive, but because Nintendo’s and Sony’s platforms do not have an Early Access program. Microsoft has stepped up to provide support to Pocketpair, so that development will progress more rapidly on their platform.
Last month, The Pokemon Company made a similar statement as Furukawa did here. In their words:
“We intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokémon.”
Now, as a reminder, Nintendo is not the same thing as The Pokemon Company. The Pokemon Company is a joint venture between Nintendo and the game studios Game Freak and Creatures, to manage Pokemon as a property.
In any case, Furukawa’s messaging, like The Pokemon Company’s messaging, is interesting. It may be the case that The Pokemon Company is seriously investigating if they can put together a case for IP infringement against Pocketpair and Palworld in Japanese court.
This is because, if they are preparing for potential litigation, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company were likely advised by their lawyers not to say something that could be used as evidence in court. So the statement makes their position clear, without referring to the potential defendants.
In any case, the possibility of Palworld committing IP infringement is something that would have to be decided in court. Regardless of our individual opinions on the issue, this case is not something that is decided in the court of public opinion.