Poor Sega is having troubles with the Yakuza. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life got delayed until April, but a beefy demo was supposed to tide fans over until next month's release date. Then, in this year's most epic "Oh No" to date, some players managed to circumvent the demo's cut-off point and keep playing. In other words, they got the game for free.
Sega has since pulled the Yakuza 6 demo. Anyone who downloaded the sample is locked out until further notice. Sega hasn't said when the demo will return.
The kicker about the Yakuza 6 demo snafu is that it doesn't come as a surprise. Sega has an impressive history of similar leaks and screw-ups. Whereas Nintendo locks up its secrets and brings down the hammer on anyone responsible for a leak, Sega's secrets and data seem to barrel between private and public parties like an energetic kid playing with a double-hinged door.
Before there was Yakuza 6's slip, there was another big incident at the tail-end of 2017: Sega accidentally uploaded the entire code for Daytona Championship USA when it meant to upload a single patch for arcade owners to apply to the game. Modders jumped on the code in no time and got it working on the PC.
Then we have leaks centered around Sonic the Hedgehog games, which is a category unto itself. Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Free Riders, Sonic Colors, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games all broke street date. The demo for Sonic Generations was data-mined several months before the final game's release.
Episode I of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was the victim of a notoriously bad leak. The game got out into the wild months before its official release through the Xbox 360's former PartnerNET game testing service. PartnerNET was shut down shortly thereafter, and Sega used the early fan feedback for Sonic 4 (mostly bad) to refine the game (still mostly bad).
Sega's past mishaps make the Yakuza 6 mistake seem almost par for the course. It's not as if anyone can be singled out to shoulder the blame, either: The leaks are the fault of internal staff, of third parties, of game stores and digital marketplaces. Maybe Sega's just the game industry's equivalent of a slapstick cartoon where a sailor tries to plug up a hole in a ship's hull, but more keep breaking open. For help with Yakuza 6, check out our Yakuza 6 guide.