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Sony Is Forcing All Helldivers 2 Steam Players to Connect to a PlayStation Network Account — and It’s Going Down About as Well as You’d Expect

Sony has sparked a backlash after announcing plans to force Helldivers 2 Steam players to connect to a PlayStation Network account.

In a statement attributed to Sony Interactive Entertainment, the PlayStation maker said that due to “technical issues” at the launch of Helldivers 2, it allowed the linking requirements for Steam accounts to a PlayStation Network account to be temporarily optional. Sony said this “grace period” will now expire.

Here’s what’s going to happen: on May 6, all new Helldivers 2 players on Steam will be required to connect their Steam account to a PlayStation Network account. Current players on Steam will start to see the mandatory login from May 30 and will be required to have linked a Steam and PlayStation Network account by June 4.

Why is Sony forcing this requirement upon Steam players? Safety and security, it said. “Account linking plays a critical role in protecting our players and upholding the values ​​of safety and security provided on PlayStation and PlayStation Studios games,” Sony said in its statement. “This is our main way to protect players from grief and abuse by enabling the banning of players that engage in that type of behavior. It also allows those players that have been banned the right to appeal.”

Perhaps bracing itself for a backlash it knew was to come, Sony said: “We understand that while this may be an inconvenience to some of you, this step will help us to continue to build a community that you are all proud to be a part of.

“Many thanks for your continued support of Helldivers 2!”

It’s fair to say that PC gamers who play Helldivers 2 on Steam and have nothing to do with Sony or PlayStation are upset by the decision. Many are saying they had no idea that playing Helldivers 2 on Steam without linking to a PlayStation account was part of a “grace period”. As has been pointed out, Helldivers 2 launched with this requirement, but it was removed after the game exploded with popularity and the servers collapsed. Still, that hasn’t prevented Steam players from hitting out at Sony for adding the requirement in now, three months after launch.

Others are expressing concern about PlayStation Network security, given Sony’s track record with data breaches. Some are now wondering what happens to Helldivers 2 Steam players who live in a country in which PSN is unavailable. Some of the most upset Steam players are threatening to abandon the game or even request a refund over the issue, although it remains to be seen whether Sony’s move will meaningfully affect Helldivers 2’s Steam concurrent player numbers, which Valve makes public.

“I paid $40 for this game and got well over 100 hours of fun out of it, absolutely got my money’s worth,” redditor dudeitsivan said. “Some of the most fun I’ve had playing video games in as long as I remember. I’ll miss the game like crazy. But I will not be making a PS account.

“As much as I hate my own sentiment on this, I hope this kills player count. It’ll be the only thing that will make Sony reconsider.”

“It sucks,” added DarthArcanus. “Arrowhead devs seem awesome. The game is awesome. But I won’t support this. Period. I’ll move onto other games. May not scratch the itch Helldivers did, but there’s always something new.”

“Just adding to say I’ll do the same,” stupherz commented. “Was going to spend money to get the new Warbond too but guess not anymore. It was fun but I refuse to tolerate this out of principle.”

Arrowhead community managers are currently putting out fires across the Helldivers Discord, which is packed with comments about today’s announcement. Responding to one player who asked the very reasonable question how this makes Helldivers 2 safer, community manager Baskinator explained: “Sony has a dedicated team, a ban appeal process, and tools to take action on player reports, and it’s all connected to having a PSN ID.” In another post, Baskinator added: “It’s (Helldivers) Sony’s IP, so it makes sense they’d want to use the tools they’ve developed for these things.”

Replying to a user who said they felt they had the rug pulled out from under them, Baskinator said: “Well, we always knew this day would get here, and it’s going about how I expected. 😅 I’m actually happy for us to be able to take action against player reports and make the game safer across the board, personally.”

Helldivers 2 is Sony’s biggest ever launch on PC, and Steam players make up a significant chunk of the overall player base. It’s one of the surprise smash hits of 2024, in part because of its launch on PS5 and PC at the same time, with cross-play in full effect. Arrowhead has won plaudits for its community management and the Helldivers 2 live service, with the early days server troubles now a distant memory. But this announcement from Sony looks set to test the loyalty of Helldivers 2’s most hardcore fans.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].