'Helldivers 2' Isn't Available on Steam in Certain Regions Following Controversy

'Helldivers 2' went from the most popular co-op game of 2024 to the most controversial and was removed from Steam because of it.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

May 7 2024, Published 10:07 a.m. ET

The world of gaming came out swinging in early 2024. In late January, Palworld was released for early access on Xbox and Steam to massive success thanks to its satirical take on Pokémon. The following February saw the releases of two highly anticipated RPG titles with Persona 3 Reload and Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth, both of which received glowing reviews. But even in a year of exciting game releases right off the bat, Helldivers 2 managed to hit breakout success upon its Feb. 8, 2024, release.

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The popular co-op shooter title has players team up with each other as they spread their ideals of democracy throughout the universe while waging war against killer cyborgs and aliens.

Helldivers 2 was released on PlayStation 5 and PC and sold more than 8 million units in its first two months of release. It could have easily been a heartwarming Cinderella story for the dev team at Arrowhead Game Studios, but sudden subsequent controversy caused the game to be removed from Steam. Here's what happened.

An enemy in 'Helldivers 2'
Source: Arrowhead Game Studios
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Why was 'Helldivers 2' removed from Steam in certain regions?

Although Helldivers 2 was already reveling in success and widespread popularity following its launch in February, public opinion quickly turned against the game in early May 2024. On May 3, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced that the PC version of the game would require players to sign in with a PlayStation Network (PSN) account to continue playing on their PCs and Steam accounts. The subsequent backlash was swift and ruthless.

Current PC players weren't happy with the mandate that they would need to create an account for a console they didn't necessarily own in order to continue their Helldivers 2 progress on a completely separate platform. Worse still, PSN isn't even available in certain regions of the world. This would have meant that players without access to PSN wouldn't have been able to play Helldivers 2 at all on their PCs.

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In response to this controversial move, Steam removed the game's listing from its store page in the 177 territories where PSN isn't available. This followed the previous efforts made by the player base and Steam to protest the mandate, which included review bombing the game and even issuing refunds.

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'Helldivers 2' players on Steam were granted refunds for the game.

In the wake of the new mandate, Steam began issuing full refunds to any Helldivers 2 owners who wanted them, regardless of how long they've played the game. Steam typically only offers full refunds on games as long as customers have logged two hours of playtime or less, but it superseded this policy for displeased Helldivers 2 fans.

Amid all of the backlash, Sony ultimately announced on May 6 that the PSN account mandate would no longer be moving forward and that linking would be optional. The announcement was met with widespread relief, with few more relieved than Helldivers 2 creative director Johan Pilestedt, who had been in talks with Sony to push back against the mandate.

In response to Sony's new announcement, Johan tweeted, "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 is currently available on PlayStation 5 and PC.

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