In this era of piracy and legal hoo-ha, it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that big publishers pay top dollar for their legal boffins. And as publishers go, they don’t come much bigger than SEGA. But following the latest drama to hit our screens, SEGA might be looking to review its retainer. In an effort to tackle pirated copies of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, SEGA have, in an unfathomable miss-step, tried to take down Steam.
Steam Database, to be specific, which is an independent website that lists tracks and information regarding applications and packages available on Valve’s distribution website, Steam. For simply reporting the available games on Steam, Steam DB its fairly safe to say, is beyond reproach. You would as soon as sue the phone book for listing numbers receiving prank calls. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have put SEGA off, who is threatening the site with legal action.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the latest additional to the popular series from the massive publisher. It was release at the end of last year in November on last gen consoles. Following this, it was then released on PS5 early in 2021. The game focuses on an entirely new main character, Kazuma Kiryu. He’s a happy chap who simply wants a normal life following involvement in the Tojo Clan. It has been received incredibly well, receiving 5/5 from TheGamer and averaging 83 on Metacritic. Many consider it one of the best entries in the series. In short, it’s a prime target for pirates.
Kazuma Kiryu has proved a very popular protagonist in the latest game in the Yakuza series
Pavel Djundik, one of the creators of the Steam Database website has posted on Twitter regarding the legal threats from SEGA. According to Djundik, SEGA are demanding that the website be taken down, claiming it is illegally distributing pirated copies of the game. In fact, Djundik has already taken the site down for a short period as the claim was also sent to the web host company managing the Steam Database. As of right now, the website has a message debunking the legal claim from SEGA. It seems it’s going nowhere, for now.
It is a clear mistake from the exception legal minds at SEGA. Whilst Steam Database does list all titles, their prices and other information a pirate might find interesting, that’s as far as it goes. At worst it provides a convenient shopping list for would be piracy. But, as we said before, you’d as soon as sue Wikipedia for listing Fort Knox following a bullion heist. But it’s not the first time the website has received a cease and desist. It seems this is almost an annual occurrence. Whislt other issues seem to be resolved fairly swiftly, SEGA seem undeterred at this point.
SEGA’s intentions are of course understandable. But it’s means and dogged, ill-advised tenacity in a situation where it is clearly in the wrong seems bullish and blinkered. With a bit of luck SEGA will realise it’s mistake sooner rather than later, and tug the loose lease on their legal hounds imminently. Until then, we wish the good people at Steam DB all the very best. Stay tuned for updates on this story as they happen.