The makers of Palworld have formed a new company in partnership with Sony

With Palworld merch debuting later this week, Nintendo’s lawyers have uncharacteristically sat this fight out.


The maker of Xbox Game Pass stalwart Palworld said on Wednesday it’s forming a new company in partnership with… Sony. Palworld developer and publisher Pocketpair announced its new team-up with Sony Music Entertainment to create Palworld Entertainment, Inc. The joint venture’s stated purpose: “accelerating the multifaceted global development of Palworld and its further expansion,” which sounds like corporate-speak for “merch, baby.”

The deal includes Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. and anime studio and game publisher Aniplex, Inc., both part of the broader Sony Corporation. Pocketpair says Palworld merchandise will soon be available for pre-order at Aniplex Online.

The joint venture’s new website describes the newly formed Palworld Entertainment, Inc. as handling Palworld’s licensing operations. “We are responsible for various domestic and international licensing operations for the Pocketpair game Palworld, with the aim of accelerating the multifaceted development of Palworld and further expanding the IP,” according to the website’s About section.

A press release added that the conglomerate will aim to develop the IP’s reach and expand “commercial business endeavors.” In other words, there’s money to be made here, and capitalize, they will.

Sheep-like creatures in the game Palworld hold machine guns as they hide behind sandbags. Outdoor setting.
Sheep-like creatures in the game Palworld hold machine guns as they hide behind sandbags. Outdoor setting. (Pocketpair)

When Palworld launched in Early Access in January, many in the gaming industry speculated Nintendo would sue it into oblivion. The game, which sold over a million copies in eight hours and exceeded 25 million players within its first month, isn’t subtle about its Pokémon influence. It includes nearly 1:1 likenesses of some of the longstanding franchise’s creatures, which the player — yes — collects and battles. But so far, The Pokémon Company has held back its lawyers. We can only speculate about its reasons, but fears of alienating fans of a beloved new game or worries about parody and fair use protections could be possibilities.

You can’t make up the irony of the newly established alliance, as the Pokémon Company was established as a similar joint venture between Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures in 1998. Well-played, Sony.

Palworld Entertainment says it will kick off its new licensing push with a series of “exclusive merchandise based on the game.” The joint venture will debut its new lineup of goods (plushies, perhaps?) at Bilibili World 2024, which kicks off in two days in Shanghai, China.