Sony Finally Did the Right Thing with Helldivers 2

Despite owning one of the largest gaming storefronts globally, Sony is now being pushed to its knees by the PC community.

By Rayan, Posted 06 May 2024

This has been an amazing week for gamers, and perhaps one of the most memorable weeks in the history of the video game industry. No, I'm not talking about PlayStation's controversy about Stellar Blade, it's about Sony's controversial decision about Helldivers 2. For that, of course, Sony had been on the wrong end of a brutal thrashing from the PC community for delisting Helldivers 2 from Steam in 177 countries by stating that PSN logins would be mandatory to play this game.

Strangely, nobody anticipated Helldivers 2 to be so successful. Sony made swift improvements, such as removing the requirement for a PSN account to play on PC, in response to the overwhelming demand from players who attempted to play, which greatly outpaced the capacity of their servers. In Sony's defense, it's important to point out that Helldivers 2 has always explicitly stated on Steam that a PSN membership is necessary, and it debuted with that requirement.

Sony's decision Helldivers 2 PSN

Worse yet, according to Sony's "PSN on PC" FAQ, the question "Do I have to sign in to PSN to play a PlayStation game on PC" was answered with "Signing in to PSN is optional when playing a PlayStation game on PC" until last weekend. "Some PlayStation games may require you to sign in and link to an account for PSN" is the updated response. Regardless, a large number of users purchased the game before Sony made it very clear that they would want a PSN account at some point.

Even though most of us don't mind that games require an external login which is fairly typical among AAA publishers nowadays, this situation has been particularly bad. Before anything else, the notice states that the upgrade is being made due to safety and security concerns, specifically that "Account linking plays a critical role in protecting our players and upholding the values of safety and security provided on PlayStation and PlayStation Studios games."

With all the data breaches that Sony and PSN have experienced, this is terrible phrasing. Because security isn't the only concern here, it was the restriction for creating a PSN account. Steam published a list of countries from where you can't register a PSN account, and PlayStation has made it clear that creating an account from a country other than one of the ones specified is strictly forbidden by their terms of service. Anyone residing in an excluded nation, such as Vietnam, Monaco, or any of the listed countries, would be unable to play Helldivers 2.

This triggered Helldivers 2's reviews on Steam to go from "Very Positive" to "Overwhelmingly Negative" in a flash, with only 14% of recent reviews rating it positively. After enduring this barrage of bad reviews and awful public relations, one community manager finally snapped and defended the game they were selling. Arrowhead officials tried to defend the situation stating that this was actually Sony's choice, not theirs with several tweets and community announcements pointing out they were trying to solve the dispute with Sony.

Helldivers 2 Steam Reviews

They might have believed that a flood of criticism might in fact assist them to convince Sony for what they felt was right. Furthermore, they state that they will not impose such conditions in locations without PSN connectivity unless a more suitable alternative is offered to gamers in those areas. Lastly, they mention that the development team has had a unanimously negative reaction to Sony's decision, implying that they also despise this modification and are battling Sony to pursue other options.

Many critics commented that Sony considered PlayStation on PC as a means to increase PSN users, which seemed like good news for the shareholders. Of course, investors are swayed by that figure because they think each user has revenue potential. So, it's no surprise that Sony will seek out methods to capitalize on that belief. Fortunately, Valve stepped in to help the Steam player by approving refund requests for players regardless of whether the return window has gone. What followed, though, was an event that could have been seen as a wonder. Earlier today, Sony tweeted this from the official PlayStation account:


Helldivers fans -- we’ve heard your feedback on the Helldivers 2 account linking update. The May 6 update, which would have required Steam and PlayStation Network account linking for new players and for current players beginning May 30, will not be moving forward.

We’re still…

— PlayStation (@PlayStation) May 6, 2024


Yes, Sony finally did the right thing by removing the PSN requirement from Helldivers 2. We wondered why they didn't foresee this situation even before announcing the PSN requirement. There's no doubt that Helldivers 2 is a great game while Arrowhead Game Studios took a hit on their reputation for this incident. But we're glad that the situation went in their favor and for the PC gamers as there is still a sizable active player base who are playing this game. One thing for certain, whether Sony learned a lesson from this situation or not, Helldivers 2 got the publicity Arrowhead wouldn't have gotten even after spending millions of dollars on a marketing campaign. So, they better return this favor by making Helldivers 3 even more amazing.

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): Arrowhead Game Studios
Genres: Third-Person Shooter
Themes: Sci-Fi, Squad-Based Shooter
Release Date: 2024-02-08

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