TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
In context: Palworld has become a smash hit for developer Pocketpair, which recently announced that the game has racked up more than 19 million players worldwide since its debut just over two weeks ago. This is despite the fact that it has only been released on Xbox and PC, and is not yet available on PlayStation and other popular gaming platforms.
Success, however, has come at a cost for Pocketpair, with the company reportedly spending an eye-watering $478,000 per month to maintain the server network to support its rapidly expanding player base. The news comes from Pocketpair's network engineer Chujo Hiroto, whose recent X post revealed that the team has been explicitly instructed by the company's CEO, Takuro Mizobe, to ensure 100 percent uptime at any cost.
According to Hiroto, Mizobe asked Palworld engineers to ensure that the service never goes down, no matter what. Following the order, Hiroto and his colleagues reinforced the server network without any regard for cost, and are pulling out all the stops to ensure that players can enjoy the game around the clock.
Following the order to never let the service go down no matter what, we have prepared servers without regard to cost.– Chujo Hiroto (@chujohiroto) February 2, 2024
We will continue to give our all to ensure that all players can enjoy to the fullest!
Server upkeep is a massive expense for any game studio, and $478,000 per month is astronomical, especially for an indie developer. While you expect AAA titles to incur high server costs due to the sheer number of players globally, it is unusual for smaller developers to have so many concurrent players. In an acknowledgement of the high server costs, Mizobe joked that it could make the company "go bankrupt from server fees."
Despite Mizobe's joke, it's unlikely that Pocketpair will go broke any time soon. With Palworld becoming such a phenomenon, the company is minting money left, right and center. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the firm already made more than $300 million on Steam alone, in addition to the revenues it received from Xbox and PC Game Pass, suggesting that the actual earnings are much higher.
For the uninitiated, Palworld is an open-world, action-adventure, survival, and monster-taming multiplayer game made by Japanese indie game company Pocketpair. The game requires players to fight, farm, build and work alongside mysterious creatures called "Pals," which can be captured and tamed for base building, traversal, and combat. It is currently only available on PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, with no word on when or if Pocketpair plans to release it on other platforms, such as PlayStation, Switch, Android, and iOS.