Sony Backs Down, No More Mandatory PSN Linking for Helldivers 2

Sony Faces Backlash Over Mandatory Account Linking

Sony faced an immense amount of criticism from the gaming community recently when they announced that players would be required to link their Steam accounts to their PlayStation Network accounts in order to continue playing Helldivers 2. Those who were unable to do so would face suspension or restrictions from the game. In response to this announcement, players flooded Helldivers 2’s Steam Page with negative reviews and requested refunds in large numbers. Due to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to their decision, Sony ultimately decided to reverse course and announced that they would no longer move forward with the mandatory account linking.

Sony Reverses Mandatory Account Linking Decision

Just a few days after Sony’s initial announcement concerning the mandatory linking of Steam accounts to PlayStation Network accounts, the company received significant backlash. While account linking was initially optional when Helldivers 2 was launched, Sony retroactively made it a requirement. This decision did not sit well with gamers, as it not only violated Steam policy but also allowed for a data collection process that many disagreed with.

Players took action by flooding Helldivers 2’s Steam review page with negative reviews and initiating mass refunds of the game. Steam typically has strict refund policies regarding game returns, but they made exceptions for Helldivers 2 due to the sudden policy change regarding mandatory linking to PSN. Players were able to receive refunds even after logging hundreds of hours of gameplay.

In response to the backlash, Sony decided to backtrack on their decision to enforce mandatory Steam to PSN account linking. In a post on PlayStation’s official account, developers stated that their plans for May 30th would not be moving forward after taking player feedback into consideration. The developers acknowledged that they are still learning what is best for PC players and expressed gratitude for the continued support of the game.

Sony’s Controversial Delisting of Helldivers 2 on Steam

Despite retracting their mandatory account linking decision, Sony delisted Helldivers 2 from certain regions on Steam, much to the surprise of players. The game was removed from areas without access to the PlayStation Network, aligning with the now-reversed mandatory linking policy, which only added fuel to the ongoing outrage.

While Helldivers 2 remains unavailable in the Steam store for specific regions, players who purchased the game before its delisting can still access it from their library. It is currently unclear when the publishers will make the game available for sale again on the platform.

Why Did Sony Push for Account Linking?

Sony’s initial motivation for enforcing mandatory account linking was to enhance their ability to monitor and regulate the game more effectively. This would enable developers to issue bans and manage access for problematic players more efficiently. However, many critics believed that the move was more about collecting data from the existing player base.

Linking a Steam account to a PSN account grants Sony access to additional information that was previously unavailable to them. This data could be utilized for purposes such as targeted marketing or bolstering investor numbers. Essentially, Sony was willing to compromise data privacy in pursuit of greater profits. While this practice is common among companies, the decision to make account linking mandatory months after the game’s release sparked significant backlash.

Initially, linking a Steam account to a PSN account was optional and not required to play the game. However, making it mandatory later on meant that Sony was imposing a policy change that its player base had not agreed to. If the requirement had been in place from the beginning, players could have made an informed decision about purchasing the game, potentially avoiding the controversy altogether.

Massive Player Backlash Against Helldivers 2

Players wasted no time in expressing their disapproval of Sony’s decision by collectively review-bombing Helldivers 2. Within days of the announcement, the game’s rating plummeted to “Mostly Negative” on Steam. Additionally, many players requested refunds citing reasons such as disagreement with the policy change or unavailability of PSN in their region.

Following the announcement, Arrowhead was one of the first to suggest to players that if they were unhappy with the new policy, they should seek refunds, indicating their disagreement with Sony’s plans. Speculation arose that Sony reversed their decision once mass refunds started coming in, as the company is notorious for being strict with refund requests. The increase in refunds due to Steam’s leniency following the policy change likely influenced Sony’s decision to backtrack.