Why are Helldivers 2 PC players angry at PSN update? Sony controversy explained

Noelle Corbett

Helldivers 2 will start requiring those on PC to connect an active PlayStation account to access the game, which creates a frustrating new barrier for many players around the world.

The news that Helldivers 2 will start requiring all Steam players to connect to an active PlayStation Network account to access the Sony-published game has players up in arms.

Though Sony says account linking is essential to protecting players and “upholding the values of safety and security provided on PlayStation and PlayStation Studios games,” and the fact that linking was initially optional due to “technical issues” at launch, this sudden change has led to plenty of social media outrage and review bombing on Steam.

But while many are frustrated with publishers increasingly wanting gamers to make and connect more accounts, there’s a much larger issue with this Helldivers 2 change that may go overlooked amid the usual complaints.

Why are Helldivers 2 players angry at Sony?

As pointed out on the Helldivers subreddit, PSN is only available in about 70 countries out of over 190 recognized countries around the world. Compare that to Steam, which is available just about anywhere with internet access.

Places without PSN access include most of Africa (with the exception of South Africa), some European countries, and even some EU member states like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Helldiver wearing the CW-4 Arctic Ranger armor set

This means players in those places – who paid for Helldivers 2 and have potentially been playing it for months – won’t be able to access their purchase following the June 4, 2024 deadline for existing players since they can’t legitimately create PSN accounts to connect.

Additionally, creating an account for a supported region is risky for those living in places where PSN isn’t available. PlayStation Network’s terms of service say, “We reserve the right to suspend, terminate or restrict any Account … that uses or was created using false information,” meaning players who do this could face bans.

Given how many people play Helldivers 2 on Steam, this could impact a lot of users, preventing people from accessing content they purchased. Beyond that, if the game continues to be available on Steam in countries without PSN access, newcomers are bound to end up buying a product they can’t play.

Helldivers 2 devs respond to backlash

As of this writing, neither Sony nor Arrowhead Game Studios have formally responded to the backlash or discussed potential changes to the policy. Some Arrowhead employees have shared messages, including the CEO, who directed players to contact PlayStation Support with questions.

He later responded to the review bombing by apologizing for how the situation unfolded and saying “I hope we will make it up and regain the trust by providing a continued great game experience.”

Community manager Twinbeard also told frustrated players in the official Discord that “it’s Sony’s decision, not ours” and Arrowhead is “chasing Sony to get more info” in regards to the “region related issues” the new requirement presents.

That Arrowhead is aware of the issue and actively seeking a solution is a positive sign. Still, it’s important for gamers everywhere to understand that what may be a minor inconvenience for those in places like the US and UK is a much more serious problem for players worldwide.

Discord Community Manager makes statement

The issue has become further complicated after Spitz, the Helldivers 2 Community Manager on the game’s official Discord left a comment to tell those who are upset to “change your Steam review and make your displeasure known on a platform that matters.”

The community response to this has not been positive, with many feeling that Spitz is missing the point and being antagonistic to his community. While many believe that his point of leaving a review on Steam over Discord is fair, his tone is making it worse.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Discord moderators and players have had a problem either, as just last month another moderator had to make an apology after responding to criticism about a patch.

PlayStation responds by canceling update

After two days of intense backlash and pressure from the player community, PlayStation reversed its decision regarding PSN requirements for Helldivers 2. In an announcement on its official X account, PlayStation announced that it would be canceling the May 6 update.

Player response has been overwhelmingly positive though many have pointed out the negative consequences of even attempting to force account linking. Twitch streamer Pirate Software who vowed to create his own publishing company during the controversy gave a caution to Sony.

“While this is a victory for the players you’ve left a lasting stain on your brand as a publisher,” Pirate Software commented on PlayStation’s tweet. “Many people have very little reason to trust Sony going forward.”

Whether or not this decision from PlayStation will extend to other titles it releases on PC remains to be seen. Of course, the publisher is sure to be wary given the overwhelming response players had to Helldivers 2.