Helldivers 2 hit with a wave of negative reviews as PSN account linking becomes mandatory – WGB

Helldivers 2 is facing some backlash on Steam as Sony announced that it will soon be mandatory to link to a PlayStation Network account from May 6th.

This has not gone down well with players who feel its unfair to require a PSN account to be created months after the game has launched. In fact, at the time of writing there have been over 6,000 negative reviews left on the Steam page, and while not all of them are about having to link a PSN account, the majority are.

A PSN account has actually technically been required since day one. On the game’s Steam page it clearly states that the game “Requires 3rd-Party Account: PlayStation Network” and when you fire Helldivers 2 up it asks you to link your PSN account. When I got the game, it was not optional. A quick browse of SteamDB indicates that the PSN requirement message was added to the Steam store page in December of 2023, roughly three months ahead of the game’s launch.

However, a change was made to allow players to skip the linking step. According to the news post made on Steam which was written by Sony Interactive rather than developer Arrowhead: “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. That grace period will now expire.”

According to the post, all new players will require a PSN account from May 6. Currently players will start to see a mandatory login page from May 30 and will need to have their account created and linked by June 4 to continue playing.

Sony argues that account linking is designed to help make the game safer: “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. This is our main way to protect players from griefing and abuse by enabling the banning of players that engage in that type of behaviour. It also allows those players that have been banned the right to appeal.”

Many people have pointed out though, that having to create yet another account with personal details increases the risk of having valuable information stolen or sold. They also rather rightfully point out that PSN has had multiple security breaches over the years. Since 2011, they’ve had 7 fairly large security breaches. While major companies face cyber attacks constantly, Sony does seem to have a poor track record at protecting customer’s data.

There’s also another potential issue: not every country in which Helldivers 2 actually has PSN. Currently, the PlayStation Network is available in 69 (nice) countries around the world, and while that probably does cover the vast majority of players, there are going to be a lot of people out there who cannot sign up to PSN legally. For example, PSN is not available in the Baltics.

On the one hand, I do feel that this issue has been blown out of proportion a tad: a PSN account is easy to make, and realistically doesn’t increase the risk of having data stolen that much. Frankly, if you already have a Steam account, you’re probably also fairly active on the Internet anyway and are at risk. And it was very clearly stated that from the start that a PSN account would be required, even if that was not enforced at first.

On the other hand, I think it’s fair for people to feel annoyed with this decision. While the story page does state account linking is mandatory, a huge swathe of the player base joined the game when linking was optional, and this long after the game launched they would have fairly assumed that it was always going to be optional.

Perhaps the biggest question is why Sony want account linking. Presumably, it’s for data collection for both themselves and because data is one of the most valuable commodities in the Internet age. But with the game working just fine for months, will the backlash be enough for Sony to retract the requirement or will they push through on the assumption that the fire will die down? Is this just another case of people creating a drama out of something small, or is there a very legitimate complaint to be made?

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