Sony doubles down, removing Helldivers 2 from sale in 177 countries and territories that can't access PSN while Arrowhead CEO says 'I don't have the final say'

A helldiver stands, patriotic in front of a Super Earth flag, while holding a helmet in Helldivers 2.
(Image credit: Arrowhead Games)

Update: Sony has now backed down on its demand that Helldivers 2 players log into a PSN account.

Even as members of Helldivers studio Arrowhead Games say that discussions around Sony's controversial PlayStation Network sign in requirement for Helldivers 2 on PC are still ongoing, it looks like the publisher is doubling down on the move, halting sales of the game in countries where it doesn't offer the service.

In theory, Helldivers 2 was always supposed to require players to sign into the PlayStation Network in game, but this was not required at launch due to network infrastructure limitations (remember Helldivers 2's early server woes?). Two days ago, Sony announced that it would begin enforcing that requirement in a month-long rollout. 

While merely an (admittedly odious) inconvenience for most players, PC users in countries not covered by PSN might be locked out of the game entirely. This simple fact seems to have taken even Sony by surprise, with an FAQ from the publisher in the Helldivers 2 Discord seeming to direct players to set their PSN account to a country other than the one in which they live, a violation of Sony's terms of service. Speaking to the game's rioting community yesterday, Helldivers 2 community manager Spitz framed addressing this oversight as the developer's number one priority in discussions with Sony about the requirement.

As shared by SteamDB early this morning, Helldivers 2 has been removed from sale on Steam in 177 countries and territories. Japan seems to be on the list as an outlier, with the game being replaced by a different version in the country, seemingly due to localization reasons. The rest, though, are all regions not eligible for PSN access, with this move seemingly in preparation for the worst-case scenario of a rollout where players who can't sign up for the PlayStation Network are simply out of luck.

The Steam review riot against the move continues unabated, with over 211 thousand negative recent reviews, bringing the former people's champion of 2024 to overall "Mixed" status on the platform. Almost 130 thousand of those new negative reviews were in the past day alone⁠—when I last checked in on Helldivers 2 yesterday, we were sitting at 84 thousand. Eurogamer also reports that some players are even receiving refunds from Steam despite vastly exceeding the platform's usual 2-hour window.

And Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead might just be one of the biggest victims of the situation, having its trend setting, GOTY shortlist labor of love get proverbially drawn and quartered due to myopic Sony decision making. "We are talking solutions with Sony, especially in non-PSN countries," Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt wrote on Twitter earlier today. "Your voice has been heard, and I am doing everything I can to speak for the community⁠—but I don't have the final say."

Sony has been holding its hand to a hot stove for about three days now, all in the name of capturing new emails and users into its PSN ecosystem, and while I'm just a simple country games journalist, the smart move would probably be to stop right about now. What's more, not making this change would take less effort: just keep Helldivers 2 running as it has for the past four months.

Whether Sony eventually realizes this or not, it may already be too late. Similar to how Tarkov's $250 mode controversy was allowed to burn uncontrolled for six days, potentially permanently souring its community and driving them to alternatives like Grey Zone Warfare, Sony and Helldivers 2 have sustained calamitous reputational damage over this sign in debacle. The thing is, there's just nothing out there quite like Helldivers 2, which makes the prospect of its demise or diminishing all the sadder. 

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.