Recently, players of Helldivers 2 on PC were met with the news that they would soon be required to link their Steam account to a PlayStation Network (PSN) account. This decision sparked an enormous backlash from the community, leading to a staggering 100,000 new negative reviews on Steam. The developers at Arrowhead found themselves in hot water, with the CEO and creative director, Johan Pilestedt, acknowledging the impact on the game’s review score. Pilestedt took to Twitter to express his regret over the situation, emphasizing his commitment to providing a great gaming experience and earning back the players’ trust.

Initially, Helldivers 2 boasted a ‘Mostly Positive’ user review rating on Steam, with recent reviews leaning towards a ‘Mixed’ rating. However, following the mandatory account linking announcement, the overall rating plummeted to ‘Mixed,’ signifying only 59% positive reviews, with recent feedback categorized as ‘Mostly Negative.’ Arrowhead’s community manager, Spitz, shared insights on the controversy within the Helldivers Discord, revealing that the decision was driven by Sony rather than Arrowhead itself. The development team expressed a unanimous disapproval of the mandatory linking change, prompting internal discussions on finding alternative solutions.

Players voiced a multitude of concerns regarding the requirement to link their PSN accounts, citing issues ranging from inconvenience to data privacy apprehensions. Particularly, players residing in regions without PSN coverage faced a significant hurdle, as signing up for a PSN account in a different region would violate Sony’s terms of service. In response to the outcry, Spitz assured players that the mandatory linking would not apply to regions lacking PSN coverage, emphasizing a commitment to respecting players’ rights and preferences.

The trend of Sony bringing console-exclusive titles to the PC platform has gained momentum in recent years, with Helldivers 2 being a notable example of this strategy. Unlike previous releases, where Sony published games years after their exclusivity period, Helldivers 2 saw a simultaneous launch on PC and PlayStation platforms. This dual-platform release contributed to the game’s commercial success, positioning it as one of Sony’s top-grossing titles, with a significant portion of sales originating from the PC player base. Despite its positive reception, the controversy surrounding the mandatory account linking has marred the overall player experience.

The handling of the mandatory linking requirement for Helldivers 2 serves as a cautionary tale for developers seeking to expand their titles across different platforms. Player feedback and concerns should be prioritized in decision-making processes to avoid alienating the community and tarnishing the gaming experience. Moving forward, fostering open communication and transparency between developers and players will be essential in bridging the gap and rebuilding trust within the gaming community.


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