Sony backs down, won’t enforce PSN accounts for Helldivers 2 PC players on Steam

Helldivers 2 player aiming a laser reticule into a massive explosion.
Enlarge / Aiming a single rifle sight into an earth-moving explosion feels like some kind of metaphor for the Helldivers 2 delayed PSN requirement saga.


Helldivers 2 PC players can continue doing their part for Super Earth, sans Sony logins.

Sony’s plan for its surprise hit co-op squad shooter—now the most successful launch in Sony’s nascent PC catalog—Helldivers 2, was to make its players sign in with PlayStation Network (PSN) accounts before it launched in early February, even if they purchased the game through the Steam store.

Sony and developer Arrowhead didn’t enforce PSN logins during its frenetic launch and then announced late last week that PSN accounts would soon be mandatory. Many players did not like that at all, seeing in it a sudden desire by Sony to capitalize on its unexpected smash hit. Some were not eager to engage with a network that had a notable hack in its history, others were concerned about countries where PSN was not offered, and many didn’t take Sony at its word that this was about griefing, banning, and other moderation. Because of the uneven availability of Steam and PSN, Helldivers 2 was delisted in 177 countries on Steam over the weekend as Steam worked through refund requests.


The pushback made an impression, and now Sony has announced that account linking “will not be moving forward.” In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Sunday night addressed to Helldivers fans, the official PlayStation account wrote that the publisher had “heard your feedback” and was “still learning what is best for PC players and your feedback has been invaluable.”

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“Feedback,” in this case, likely included a long weekend of both PlayStation and Arrowhead hearing from a Helldivers fanbase that had previously been relatively sanguine and cohesive, at least for an online multiplayer shooter. Steam reviews of Helldivers 2 took a sad but predictable plummet downward, the game’s subreddit pivoted from cosigned enthusiasm to protest, and lots of people tied to the game spent a lot of time over the weekend trying to address the surge of negative social media.

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Johan Pilestedt, CEO of Arrowhead Games Studio, after facetiously asking if now was the moment “to tweet ‘What? You guys don’t have phones?'”, posted on X early Sunday that his firm was “talking solutions with PlayStation, especially for non-PSN countries.” Responding to a reply that asked why he or his firm were “acting all blameless,” Pilestedt was candid. “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,” Pilestedt wrote.

He added, ‘We knew for about 6 months before launch that it would be mandatory for online PS titles.” Asked why, if known for 6 months, the game was sold to countries without PSN available, he responded, “We do not handle selling the game.”

It will certainly be interesting to see what Sony does next with its success beyond consoles. Helldivers 2 is by far its most successful PC launch to date, and its seventh highest-grossing game overall. There’s a market there for the right kinds of games, but how Sony cultivates that market, and whether they’ll welcome Sony as anything beyond a publisher on Steam, remains to be seen.

The developer of Ghost of Tsushima, arriving soon on PC, made sure to note Friday on X/Twitter that a PSN account was only required for the multiplayer mode of the game, not the single-player adventure.

This post was update at 10:41 a.m. to note prior international delistings, and Sony’s clarification about PSN requirements for an upcoming game.

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