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Sony backtracks on Helldivers 2 PSN log-in requirement

Requirement saw intense review bombing as game was pulled from Steam in countries without PSN support

Sony has burned a bit of good will with the Helldivers 2 player base, as the company announced plans on Thursday that would require PC players of the game to link a PlayStation Network account to continue playing the title.

"Due to technical issues at the launch of Helldivers 2, we allowed the linking requirements for Steam accounts to a PlayStation Network account to be temporarily optional," the company said. "That grace period will now expire."

Sony went on to say that forcing PC players to connect to a PSN account "is our main way to protect players from griefing and abuse by enabling the banning of players that engage in that type of behaviour," and would let banned players appeal their punishment.

The account-linking requirement was complicated by the fact that Helldivers 2 had been sold in numerous countries where Sony does not run the PlayStation Network.

Going by Sony's announcement, customers in those countries who had purchased the game could be expected to lose access to it by June 4.

Steam-tracking website SteamDB reported that the game was pulled from sale in 177 countries over the weekend.

The initial announcement prompted a review bombing campaign on Steam that was acknowledged and even sympathized with by Helldivers 2 creative director Johan Pilestedt, who is also CEO of developer Arrowhead Game Studios.

"Ouch, right in the review score," Pilestedt posted on social media Friday in response to the popular game's Recent Reviews score on Steam dropping into the "Mixed" range.

He added, "Well, I guess it's warranted. Sorry everyone for how this all transpired. I hope we will make it up and regain the trust by providing a continued great game experience."

The negative reviews continued to pour in over the weekend. As of this writing, Helldivers 2's all-time reviews are "Mixed," while reviews from the past 30 days are "Mostly Negative."

Sony would backtrack late Sunday night Pacific time.

"Helldivers fans – we've heard your feedback on the Helldivers 2 account linking update," the company said. "The May 6 update, which would have required Steam and PlayStation Network account linking for new players and for current players beginning May 30, will not be moving forward.

"We're still learning what is best for PC players and your feedback has been invaluable. Thanks again for your continued support of Helldivers 2 and we'll keep you updated on future plans."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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