What the heck is going on with Helldivers 2?

In the last five days Helldivers 2 It was pulled from the PC market in 177 countries, and the game’s Steam reviews collapsed from Positive to Mixed under the weight of over 200,000 negative ratings. It is now Tuesday and Helldivers 2 The Steam page is full of people protesting against Sony and celebrating democracy, and for anyone looking at the game for the first time, things are a little confusing.

Here’s what happens.

Helldivers 2 is a third-person cooperative shooter developed by the independent team Arrowhead Game Studios and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was released on PlayStation 5 and Steam on February 8, marking rare cross-platform parity from Sony. Immediately, Helldivers 2 It was a hit on PC – by the hour more parallel players Outranks other PlayStation games on Steam God of War, Spider-man remastered, Horizon Zero Dawn and The end of us part I. Helldivers 2 It was so popular in its first weeks that Arrowhead’s servers struggled to keep up with demand and had to be limited to 450,000 players.

Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt “I’m completely exhausted by success” he tweeted a week after launch. “So is the team, lots of late nights, calls, emergency meetings, discussions around server capacity, fabrics, capacity units, CPU usage, access rates and CCU. I’m tired, but I’m very, very happy.”

Helldivers 2Helldivers 2

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Helldivers 2 One of the first tests of Sony’s long-term multiplatform goals. While Pilestedt was calculating Helldivers 2‘s launch week, Sony executives were telling investors about their new plans to aggressively pursue the PC revenue stream. Sony president Hiroki Totoki said the goal is to “actively work on it” Releasing first-party games on PC alongside PlayStation is a shift from the company’s longtime console-first approach.

Helldivers 2 is not a first-party Sony game, but it is a console exclusive for the PlayStation 5, and Sony supports its development as its publisher. As long as Helldivers 2 there’s a Steam page, as well as a dijon-yellow notification box telling players they need to close their PlayStation Network account to play. According to Sony, account linking is all in the name of security and cross-platform play, but of course it also helps increase the studio’s PSN monthly active user count.

Due to early network issues with the game, Sony decided to postpone the account lockout requirement for when Helldivers 2 Released on Steam on February 8th. It hit the digital computer showcase for $40 with no noticeable region or account connection restrictions. For almost three months Helldivers 2 spent the moment in the sun.

And then it started to burn. On Thursday, May 2, Sony revealed all of this Helldivers 2 Steam players will be required to sign in to their PSN account to continue accessing the game on PC. The requirement will go into effect for new players on May 6, and existing players will begin seeing the mandatory login request at the end of the month.

“Due to technical problems at the start Helldivers 2We’ve temporarily allowed the requirement to link a PlayStation Network account for Steam accounts to be optional,” Sony’s announcement he said. “That grace period is about to expire.”

Since PSN accounts are free and connecting it to Steam is relatively painless, normally this wouldn’t be a big problem. However, Helldivers 2 was sold worldwide and PSN is only available in 73 countries. This will put more than 100 countries and territories in a difficult situation, where those players will no longer be able to play the game they paid for. Refunds were out of the question for most players, especially the most dedicated ones, as Steam generally limits them to games played for less than two hours. The bad reviews started coming.

Helldivers 2 Steam reviewsHelldivers 2 Steam reviews

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Neither Arrowhead nor Sony knew what to do next. Sony published frequently asked questions into Helldivers 2 The controversy, which does not offer a solution and instead advises affected players to create PSN accounts in different countries, is a violation of the platform’s terms. it happened is readily apparent Although Sony was the driving force behind the PSN request via tweets and Discord updates, the Arrowhead developers hated it. They even encouraged viewing riots.

“I want people to voice their displeasure where it can actually make a difference, Steam reviews and refund requests will do that, angry posts on Discord won’t,” Arrowhead associate community manager Spitz placed Friday on the game’s Discord server. “I am not satisfied with this decision either.”

More than 200,000 people posted negative reviews over the weekend Helldivers 2 Lowers its overall rating on Steam. On Sunday, May 5, Sony was quietly removed Helldivers 2 From Steam 177 countries and territories Those without access to PSN.

On the same day, Arrowhead CEO Pilestedt he tweeted, “We are talking about solutions with PlayStation, especially for non-PSN countries. Your voice has been heard, and I’m doing my best to speak for the community, but I don’t have the last word.”

Helldivers 2Helldivers 2

Sony Interactive Entertainment

On May 6th, the day the PSN request goes live for new players, Sony backed off. Company he tweeted that account linking plans “will not go forward”. The message continued: “We’re still learning what’s best for PC gamers, and your feedback is invaluable. Thank you again for your continued support Helldivers 2 and we will inform you about future plans.

Helldivers 2 With the ability to link a PSN account, it is now possible to play in every region of Steam. Note that it is not available in countries blocked by Sony on May 5. Still, the game’s PC score is slowly recovering as the rioters return to adjust their ratings, along with tepid messages about the power of democracy.

Pilestedt quoted Sony’s tweet on Monday and added, “First, I’m impressed by the will of the @helldivers2 community and your ability to collaborate. Second, I want to quickly and effectively thank our partners and friends at @PlayStation for their decision to leave PSN connectivity optional. Together, we want to set a new standard for what live gaming is and how developers and the community can support each other to create the best gaming experience.”

with Helldivers 2, it was easy to avoid the account linking problem. Sony was deliberately marketing the game to people who wouldn’t be able to play it – but first it gave them a paid trial and three months of false hope. At best, Sony appears to have been completely unaware of the logistics that would support its bold new PC strategy. At worst, it all feels a bit diabolical.

Helldivers 2 Steam reviewsHelldivers 2 Steam reviews

Sony Interactive Entertainment

It is not clear what will happen in 2024 Helldivers 2 The Steam riots will mean more for future Sony games on PC, but there’s another test with a release coming soon. Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut On May 16. Likewise Helldivers 2, the game’s Steam page has a little yellow rectangle warning players that a PSN account is required for online multiplayer and PlayStation cover. according to SteamDB, Ghost of Tsushima currently available in several non-PSN countries.

Whom Helldivers 2 the drama began on May 3 Ghost of Tsushima developer Sucker Punch Productions replied a concerned fan With the following clarification linking the account on X: “Just so you know, a PSN account is required to use the Legends online multiplayer mode and the PlayStation overlay. It is not required to play the single player game.”

As long as the terms of engagement are clear and Sony doesn’t try to pull the rug out from under gamers three months after the game’s release, it all sounds good. Account linking is not a new or even rare scenario in gaming – Microsoft (including Activision Blizzard), Ubisoft, Riot, EA and other major video game studios require ownership rights to access Steam and other third-party games. showcases. issue with Helldivers 2 Account not linked. The issue was Sony’s short-sighted execution of a high-profile PC launch and poor communication with grieving gamers after the fact.

Most gaming fans want to see PlayStation games on PC, and Sony wants to extract as much money as possible from its core franchises by bringing them to additional platforms – a plan that should be a win-win. with Helldivers 2it was more of a win-lose-win, but at least we got there in the end.

Update, May 7, 3:00 PM ET: It was said earlier in this article Helldivers 2 It was available for purchase on Steam regardless of region, but at the time of publication, it was still unlisted in non-PSN countries.

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