Helldivers 2 PSN enforcement won’t go ahead after backlash

Democracy won
Arrowhead / Sony

Patriots can take a deep breath and enjoy a moment of triumph, because Sony announced that a planned update for Helldivers 2, which would have forced everyone to use a PlayStation Network account for the game, won’t go ahead after all.

“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,” a statement on social media said. “We’re still learning what is best for PC players and your feedback has been invaluable. Thanks again for your continued support of Helldivers 2 and we’ll keep you updated on future plans.”

Sony initially wanted to force players to use a PSN account to continue playing Helldivers 2 – a decision that did not go over well with the massive PC player base of the game. Not only were players tired of making yet another account, giving their data to a company with a notable history of security breaches, users in many countries where Helldivers 2 is available on PC couldn’t even comply with the rule if they wanted to, as PSN is not available in their respective regions.

Helldivers 2 was originally going to require a PSN account, but the developers decided to waive that requirement to help alleviate the initial server issues at launch. Players were warned about this being merely a temporary solution, but at that point things had run their course.

As a reaction to Sony’s plans, which were announced late last week, Helldivers 2 players on PC as well as PS5 began leaving negative reviews on their platforms. On Steam alone, there were over 200,000 users who gave negative feedback over the weekend, dropping the game’s rating down to “Overwhelmingly Negative” – damage that may take years to recover from.

Developer Arrowhead seemed lost over the weekend at what was clearly a decision by publisher Sony. “We are talking solutions with PlayStation, especially for non-PSN countries. Your voice has been heard, and I am doing everything I can to speak for the community – but I don't have the final say,” Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt stated on Sunday

He did, however, admit his own part in the entire mess: “I do have a part to play. I am not blameless in all of this – it was my decision to disable account linking at launch so that players could play the game. I did not ensure players were aware of the requirement and we didn't talk about it enough. We knew for about 6 months before launch that it would be mandatory for online PS titles.”

After Sony conceded the fight on Monday morning, Pilestedt was already positive on social media once again, saying that the statistics showing the game’s review-bombing on Steam would make for an excellent cape design – and he confirmed that the team was already thinking about a fitting name for it.

“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,” he added.

For now, democracy seems to have won – the players voted and Sony backed down, which should mean that normalcy can return. Community trust, of course, has been shaken to the core by this affair and will take a long time to be rebuilt. As for which lessons Sony learned from this crisis, we’ll have to wait and see – the company admitted its inexperience when it comes to PC live-service games, so players can only hope that those responsible will learn the right things.

Marco Wutz


Marco Wutz is a writer from Parkstetten, Germany. He has a degree in Ancient History and a particular love for real-time and turn-based strategy games like StarCraft, Age of Empires, Total War, Age of Wonders, Crusader Kings, and Civilization as well as a soft spot for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. He began covering StarCraft 2 as a writer in 2011 for the largest German community around the game and hosted a live tournament on a stage at gamescom 2014 before he went on to work for Bonjwa, one of the country's biggest Twitch channels. He branched out to write in English in 2015 by joining tl.net, the global center of the StarCraft scene run by Team Liquid, which was nominated as the Best Coverage Website of the Year at the Esports Industry Awards in 2017. He worked as a translator on The Crusader Stands Watch, a biography in memory of Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka, and provided live coverage of many StarCraft 2 events on the social channels of tl.net as well as DreamHack, the world's largest gaming festival. From there, he transitioned into writing about the games industry in general after his graduation, joining GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage for media partners across the globe, in 2021. He has also written for NGL.ONE, kicker, ComputerBild, USA Today's ForTheWin, The Sun, Men's Journal, and Parade. Email: marco.wutz@glhf.gg