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If you were hoping to play the Yakuza 6 demo but have not gotten around to downloading it yet, you're going to be a bit disappointed. Sega has prematurely removed the demo from virtual marketplaces, but for a good reason. It turns out folks could use the demo to steal the game.
Over on the Sega Twitter feed, they've announced that the Yakuza 6: The Song of Life demo was pulled from the PlayStation Store. The tweet notes that Sega fully expects this action will upset some folks, but they recently learned that some had figured out how to "use the demo to unlock the full game."
A second tweet from Sega follows stating that they are "looking into the nature of the issue," followed by gratitude for the community's patience.
Again, it's a bummer to see a demo for an upcoming game get unceremoniously yanked from the PlayStation Network, but it's not like we can blame Sega for protecting themselves. They have not offered numbers on how many free copies of Yakuza 6 they think have been downloaded at this point, but even a single copy means money out of their pocket.
Hopefully, this is something Sega is able to fix with a quickness. It seems like more and more folks are becoming curious about the Yakuza series these days, and we'd hate to see potential new fans turn away because they aren't able to give the game a test drive.
Based on the comments, it sounds like the issue was that the Yakuza 6 demo included the full game, with progress from your demo time able to transfer over to the full game if you eventually decided to make a purchase. We're seeing more and more developers take this route nowadays, as it means they don't have to spend time or resources making a separate demo, and players seem to prefer a sample that will maintain their progress if they follow up with a purchase. Overwatch recently hosted one of its popular free weekends using the same format.
The issue with Yakuza is that, usually, players can't finagle these types of demos in order to unlock a full game without paying. Sega has not offered details on how the exploit worked, and we don't expect to hear any such details until the problem has been sorted out.
We understand the draw for gamers looking to save $60 and get a free game, and we appreciate the fact that this is technically Sega's fault for not catching the exploit in advance, but we'd encourage folks to maybe not steal the game, yeah? I mean, it's Yakuza. That series deserves all of the love and support it can get, and simply playing a free copy you snagged via exploit is providing neither of those things.