PlayStation Learns A Valuable Lesson In How To Not Piss Off PC Players

Growing pains of going multiplatform.

Arrowhead Game Studios

Over the weekend, Helldivers 2 fans earned yet another major victory. But this battle wasn’t fought on the galactic frontlines, but against the corporate powers that be here in the real world.

Sony is backtracking the controversial decision to require a PlayStation Network account to play Helldivers 2 on PC. The reversal comes just four days after the initial announcement incited fan backlash in the form of review bombing the co-op shooter on Steam.

“Helldivers fans – we’ve heard your feedback on the Helldivers 2 account linking update,” the PlayStation X account tweeted Sunday night. “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.”

It was a logical decision not only to appease PC fans who helped make Helldivers 2 Sony’s seventh-best-selling game ever, but for the Helldivers 2 community at large. As pointed out by Steam DB, the PSN requirement would have meant gamers from countries where PSN isn’t available would no longer have access to the game. On May 5, Helldivers 2 was removed from Steam in 177 countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and even Japan, the home country of the Sony Corporation.

It seemed as if Sony was deadset on sabotaging all of the goodwill they’d earned with PC fans with this new requirement.


The company’s announcement resulted in more than 319,000 negative reviews on Steam, about 41 percent of its user ratings. Before the announcement, Helldivers 2 earned near-universal positive reviews from critics and players thanks to its fun co-op gameplay, fair monetization, and excellent community engagement. It seemed as if Sony was deadset on sabotaging all of the goodwill they’d earned with PC fans with this new requirement.

Even Arrowhead Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt, who expressed opposition to the sudden change over the weekend, shared relief about the reversal.

“I am impressed by the willpower of the Helldivers 2 community and your ability to collaborate,” Pilestedt tweeted. “Secondly I want to thank our partners and friends at PlayStation for quickly and effectively making the decision to leave PSN linking optional. We together want to set a new standard for what a live game is, and how developers and community can support each other to create the best game experiences.”

Helldivers 2’s simultaneous launch on PC is a major part of its success. The game is currently the year’s best-selling game of 2024 because of its availability on multiple platforms, the latest indication that Sony’s reluctance to embrace PC sooner has left a lot of money on the table.

Even Arrowhead Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt shared relief about the reversal.


Despite showing a new commitment to PC, with the introduction of cross-play and PlayStation Trophy support coming to the Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut PC port dropping later this month, the tone-deaf Helldivers 2 announcement showed Sony still had its reservations for some reason.

In many ways, Sony is learning many of the same lessons Microsoft learned some 15 years ago with their first proper foray into a PC gaming ecosystem. Games For Windows Live was the PC counterpart for the then flourishing Xbox Live. It was a store and online service meant to unify all of the company's gaming offerings into a single service, allowing for shared achievements and even cross-play on certain occasions.

However, the service was widely panned for Microsoft’s unnecessary obstacles that hindered even the most basic aspects of what makes PC gaming so appealing to most players. Encrypted save files, a clunky interface, forcing ties to an Xbox Gamertag, and missing basic features like text and push-to-speak voice chat for some games made the entire endeavor a flop. Expecting PC players to spend $50 a year for the privilege when competitors were free made it dead on arrival. To this day, Games For Windows Live remains an albatross for certain PC ports of high-profile games like Grand Theft Auto 4 and Fallout 3.

In many ways, Sony is learning many of the same lessons Microsoft learned some 15 years ago with their first proper foray into a PC gaming ecosystem.


By 2014, Microsoft phased out the service and introduced Xbox Game Pass three years later. A big part of Xbox’s current platform-agnostic ethos allowing players to play anywhere, however they choose likely comes from the lessons learned from the shortcomings of Games For Windows Live, and has resulted in the more cordial relationship the company has with PC players today.

If there’s one good thing that has come from this shortlived Helldivers 2 controversy, it’s PlayStation learning a valuable lesson in how to treat the very audience their now trying to court.

“We’re still learning what is best for PC players and your feedback has been invaluable,” the company admitted on X Sunday. “Thanks again for your continued support of Helldivers 2 and we’ll keep you updated on future plans.”

Placing unnecessary limits on a historically open platform is a sure-shot way to piss off potential customers. If PlayStation wants to reap the financial benefits of being on PC, they can’t do so half-heartedly — they must do it on the terms of their customers.

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