Palworld dev explains Steam and Xbox differences, missing features: "We're really at the mercy of the certification here"

Palworld is launching into early access and game preview on Steam, Windows, and Xbox. The game will also be available via Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.
(Image credit: Pocketpair)

What you need to know

  • Palworld dev Pocketpair has explained why the Xbox and Microsoft Store version of the game is missing features the Steam one has.
  • Its community manager, Bucky, says that the studio is currently trying to get a patch through Microsoft's certification process and that "some of these things will take extra time."
  • Though Pocketpair is "desperately trying to speed this up," this process has to be completed before updates can go live.
  • The developer also explained that Steam and Xbox version numbers may always be different due to different underlying architectures, so players shouldn't consider them evidence that one platform is "behind" another. 

Pocketpair's new open world survival game Palworld has been enjoying a ridiculous amount of success since its recent Early Access launch on Xbox and PC, as well as Xbox Game Pass. Its creative blend of survival and base-building mechanics with a mix of creature collection and combat gameplay that's basically "Pokémon with guns" has quickly become extremely popular, with the game now even breaking 1 million concurrent players and shattering Steam records. But while Palworld has prospered on Valve's PC gaming client, players have noticed that the Xbox and Microsoft Store version is currently missing features and fixes.

Many — including myself — assumed this was due to Palworld's earlier version number on Xbox at first. However, after joining Pocketpair's Discord server to try and find more information, I spotted a few recent posts from its community manager Bucky that clear things up. They said that the version numbers between platforms may always be different since they're two different versions of the game, and that the actual reason why the Xbox version is currently missing features is because updates have to go through Microsoft's certification queue.

"On Steam, applied 2 days ago. On Xbox, sitting in the MS certification queue," wrote Bucky in a reply to a fan asking about when a hotfix would be pushed live. Then, in another response to a post about feature parity: "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."

"Issues like the missing exit game button etc are not a result of an 'older build', these are separate issues. In fact, Steam and Xbox will likely never have identical version numbers until the games are brought to be cross play compatible because at that point they will be the same game internally," they explained in a longer statement. "Again, that doesn't mean Xbox is necessarily 'behind' or anything, they are just just fundamentally two different versions of the game because of the architecture on Xbox is different."

A player about to catch a Pal with a Pal Sphere. (Image credit: Pocketpair)

So, there you have it. While Pocketpair aims to get the Xbox/MS Store edition of Palworld in line with the Steam one as soon as possible, it's taking some extra time to do so because the developer has to go through Microsoft's update certification process.

In terms of what's actually different between the two editions of Palworld, Xbox and Microsoft Store users are unfortunately missing quite a bit. Players on Reddit have been taking note of everything in the Steam version that's not in the others, and so far, that list includes the following:

  • Considerably faster crafting
  • 3 Arrows/craft (currently, you get 1)
  • Using Technology Points to unlock Statues of Power (currently, you need Ancient Technology Points)
  • The ability to name your character
  • The ability to rename Pals
  • Sound effects that are missing from Xbox/MS Store version
  • Higher quality audio
  • An exit button to close the game

If this situation sounds familiar, it's because something similar happened with Conan Exiles back in 2022. Notably, that problem was taken care of pretty quickly, so hopefully Pocketpair is able to get Palworld patched on Xbox and PC Game Pass/the Microsoft Store swiftly.

Perhaps Microsoft could step in to help 

Players exploring Palworld together on their mounts. (Image credit: Pocketpair)

While I'm glad that we now know why Palworld is currently missing features on Xbox, the Microsoft Store, and Xbox Game Pass, that's information I shouldn't have to dig through a Discord server to find. Pocketpair should have made this clear on larger channels like its official Twitter account (or X, I guess), and I hope it does so if similar situations arise in the future. Although, it seems that right now, the game only has one community manager trying to field questions from every corner of the internet right now.

This would perhaps be the ideal kind of scenario for Microsoft to step in and offer some support. Right now, the game has ended up as a defacto timed exclusive for Xbox, owing to its Xbox Game Pass inclusion. I'm not sure Microsoft (or Pocketpair) expected the game to blow up like it has. Perhaps there's a real opportunity here for Microsoft to offer improved support in exchange for ongoing exclusivity, given that Xbox often is criticized for its line up (although the list of upcoming Xbox games is looking might spicy right now.) 

Above all else, though, it's just good to know that the Xbox / MS Store version of Palworld will get updated soon. Hopefully future patches are able to get through Microsoft's certification process faster.

Palworld is available now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows PC via either the Microsoft Store or Steam. It's quickly become one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of 2024 so far, and it's also playable through Xbox Game Pass.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.