Sony Canceled the Mandatory Linking of Helldivers 2 and PSN: Summary

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After three days of review bombing on Steam, PlayStation heads reverted the decision to link the PC account of Helldivers 2 and PSN.

The Beginning of the Scandal with Helldivers 2 Mandatory PSN-Linking

On May 3, the developers of Helldivers 2 announced that from May 6, new PC players would be required to link their Steam account to their PlayStation Network (PSN) account. Arrowhead explained it for security reasons and said this feature should have been there from the very beginning but was unavailable for technical issues officially. However, on his Twitter, Pilestedt said that the decision not to introduce the PSN at first was his.

Players’ Backlash to Helldivers 2 Mandatory PSN-Linking

Of course, this news didn’t please the PC players. Some of them were concerned that Sony could collect their data (e.g. they ask for ID in the UK) or monitor them in this way. There are many known cases of data leaks from Sony, such as the data breach in October 2023. In addition, between May 3 and May 4, Sony suddenly changed their user agreements, which previously stated that: “Signing in to PSN is optional when playing a PlayStation game on PC.” to “Some PlayStation games may require you sign in and link to an account for PSN.”

However, the real problem was that it was impossible to create a PSN account in 177 countries around the world. This new requirement turned out to be an unthinkable shot in the foot from Sony, and Helldivers 2 immediately disappeared from Steam in all countries where PSN is not available. Some players who tried to sign up for PSN via VPN were instantly banned.

Angry fans began to storm the forums, the official Discord of the game, writing in Sony support, as well as review-bomb Helldivers 2 on Steam. By this time, Helldivers 2 has more than 300,000 negative reviews on Steam. Steam, in turn, began offering refunds to Helldivers 2 players who lost access to the game due to the lack of PSN in their region, even if they had dozens of hours played.

Developers’ Response to Helldivers 2 Mandatory PSN-Linking

The first to react, as always, was Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt. On his Twitter (X), he asked fans with questions to contact PlayStation Support directly, and not him. In the next tweet, Pilestedt commented that the spike in negative reviews was justified and reiterated that he just wants to make great games.

On May 5, Pilestedt shared that he was in negotiations with Sony and was doing everything possible for players in whose countries PSN is not available.

Finally, on May 6, Arrowhead’s CEO shared the good news that they and Sony were able to agree that linking to PSN was optional.

“Firstly, I am impressed by the willpower of the Helldivers 2 community and your ability to collaborate. Secondly, I want to thank our partners and friends at PlayStation for quickly and effectively making the decision to leave PSN linking optional. We together want to set a new standard for what a live game is, and how developers and community can support each other to create the best game experiences.”

—   Johan Pilestedt, Arrowhead CEO

PlayStation on their official Twitter also stated that they’re abandoning the idea of ​​mandatory linking to PSN accounts for PC players.

Conclusions

Although Sony rolled back their decision, Helldivers 2 has not yet returned to the Steam store in PSN-less countries. However, the fans have already begun to rejoice in their victory, creating a comical Helldivers-like “Major Order” of returning positive reviews on Steam. Pilestedt also joked about the release of a cosmetic cape in the game in the form of a graph of a sharp increase in negative reviews on Steam.

What do you think about it? Will Sony really roll back their decision and return the game to Steam? Just like in the game, did democracy really win?

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Alex Rainbow
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