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Sony backtracks: Helldivers 2 won't need PSN login

helldivers 2 thumbs upImage: Sony

Last week, the publisher and developer of co-op Helldivers 2 had a real “the peasants are revolting” situation on their hands. Sony told players that they’d have to link their Steam accounts with PlayStation Network to continue playing the game later this month. After an overwhelmingly negative reaction from fans — many of whom lived in countries where Sony’s PSN isn’t available — the company has retreated, saying that it will not enact the requirement.

“Helldivers fans, we’ve heard your feedback on the Helldivers 2 account linking update,” says the official PlayStation Twitter X Elon’s Special Super-Secret Treehouse Club account, in a post at 12 a.m. “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.”

It’s a bit surprising to see a company like Sony do such a quick about-face, but then, the reaction to the initial announcement was almost universally negative. The Helldivers 2 Steam store page accumulated more than 80,000 negative reviews in the 24 hours following the news, even as Sony removed the PC version from sale in hundreds of countries and territories that are not supported by PlayStation Network.

“Ouch, right in the review score,” said Johan Pilestedt, CEO of Arrowhead Game Studios, as the game’s score slid into the “Mostly Negative” zone for recent reviews and “Mixed” for reviews overall. The developers had been adamant that the requirement for a linked account was Sony’s decision from the start. The updated messaging said that the cross-platform game was initially intended to require it from launch, but a technical issue let PC players skip it and play with just a Steam account.

But the negative reaction wasn’t limited to players alone. Steam users noted that the service was honoring their demands for a refund on Helldivers 2, even when their accumulated playtime had far surpassed the standard two hour time limit. It’s an infrequent move that Valve saves for only the most unusual cases, such as The Day Before, which many think was less of a game and more of a full-on scam.

Other developers of Sony-published PC games (none of which have required a PlayStation Network account thus far) began proactively doing damage control. Sucker Punch Productions, developer of the upcoming PS4 port Ghost of Tsushima, says that players will only need to log in to PSN if they use the game’s multiplayer features.

PC players might see this as a victory over a gigantic gaming company. And it is. But it’s worth noting that it requires at least a little humility on Sony’s part to walk back the decision, which was (in my opinion) rooted in the desire to pump up valuable user numbers and data. Other publishers (cough, cough, Activision Blizzard, cough cough) could learn from the example.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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