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Palworld On Steam Vs. Game Pass: What's The Difference?

Palworld on Xbox is an inferior experience, many are reporting, but that could change.


The immensely popular survival game Palworld, or "Pokemon with guns" as some people are calling it, is available on both Game Pass (for Xbox and PC) and Steam. However, the two versions are not the same. Here's everything important to know about Palworld on Steam and Game Pass.

It's unfinished

Both versions of Palworld are available to buy, or gain access to via Xbox Game Pass, in an unfinished state. The Steam edition is available through Steam Early Access and the Game Pass version is part of the Game Preview program on Xbox and PC. The game is also available on PC Game Pass. Players should prepare themselves for bugs, issues, and other general oddities that are commonplace with unfinished games of this nature.

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Now Playing: Palworld | Official Early Access Gameplay Launch Trailer

What's missing on Xbox?

For starters, the Game Pass version of Palworld is limited to up to four players in co-op. The Steam edition, meanwhile, supports up to 32 players on a server at the same time. Dedicated servers are available on Steam, but not Game Pass.

"We'd like to have dedicated servers on Xbox but it's unfortunately not up to us and is quite difficult to negotiate at this time!" a Pocketpair representative said on the Palworld Discord (via IGN). "But… we are trying!"

Windows Central tracked down Reddit posts where users outlined some of the differences between Palworld on Game Pass vs. Steam. People are reporting that crafting is faster on Steam, for starters. The Steam version also lets players name and rename their Pals, but this isn't available on Game Pass. Users also reports better-quality audio for the Steam edition of Palworld compared to Game Pass. However, some of these issues have been addressed already via patches, including the audio quality problems.

Console certification is a lengthy process

On Steam, developers are free to push updates to their games rapidly. But on consoles like Xbox (as well as PC Game Pass titles), new updates must go through a "certification" process and clear Microsoft's standards. In a post on Discord, Pocketpair said Xbox fans should get comfortable.

"Some of these things will take extra time...we're really at the mercy of the certification here. We're desperately trying to speed this up," a representative said (via Windows Central).

Pocketpair also pushed back against the idea that Palworld on Xbox is an "older build" of the game. Until cross-play between Xbox and PC is implemented--and that is happening at some point--the two versions of Palworld will be separate. Once cross-play is enabled, Pocketpair said they will be "the same game internally."

Pocketpair doesn't consider the Xbox version "behind" the PC edition, saying, "They are just fundamentally two different versions of the game because of the architecture on Xbox is different."

Looking ahead

Pocketpair has already stated in the Palworld content roadmap that Steam-Xbox cross-play support is in the works, and this could be a big moment for the game. As the Pocketpair developers stated, once cross-play is available, the two versions of the game should be more in sync in terms of features and content.

Given the huge success of Palworld so far, some are also wondering if Microsoft could step in and lend assistance to Pocketpair. It remains to be seen if this could or would happen, and even if it does, we might not hear about it publicly.

Palworld launched on January 19 and has so far sold more than 7 million copies and exceeded 2 million concurrent players on Steam alone. The 7 million figure does not count sales on the Xbox Store for console or PC. But we do know the game is performing exceedingly well on Xbox, as it surpassed Fortnite in terms of daily active users on January 22 in the US.

The Palworld discourse has covered all sorts of topics, ranging from the smashing sales success to accusations of asset theft. For more, check out GameSpot's guides hub for Palworld.

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