Update: It took awhile, but SteamDB was eventually able to sort things out with Sega, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon is once against listed in its database.
"Earlier this week, one of our games was incorrectly flagged on SteamDB," Sega said in a statement. "We utilize anti-piracy software to protect our games at a large scale, but sometimes it makes mistakes. SEGA will continue to fine-tune these systems to avoid this in the future and we appreciate SteamDB cooperating with us to resolve the issue quickly."
The Steam Database, or SteamDB, is a third-party tool that provides all sorts of information about games on Steam, from developer info and player numbers to release dates and modification times, update history, and configuration details. Pretty much anything you could possibly want to know about a game that's on Steam, SteamDB can tell you.
Unless that game happens to be Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which as of very recently does not have a normal SteamDB page. Instead, there's a message saying, "This page was taken down because SEGA is claiming we distribute their game here (we don't)," and a link to a series of tweets that explains the situation in further detail.
"Can anyone help getting in touch with Sega? Their lawyers are trying to take down Yakuza: Like a Dragon's SteamDB page claiming that we distribute the game. I took the page down because they did not reply to the first abuse report and sent a new one to our hoster," SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik wrote.
"SteamDB does not support piracy, it does not provide downloads, it does not sell keys, it does not link to any websites that do any of these activities."
SteamDB's FAQ page emphasizes the same thing, noting that it "only embeds Steam's official widget for purchasing the game. We link to the official Steam store where possible. All image assets are directly linked from the Steam content delivery network."
SteamDB does not support piracy, it does not provide downloads, it does not sell keys, it does not link to any websites that do any of these activities. https://t.co/Cv33ml7AnmMarch 29, 2021
Djundik said that this isn't the first time something like this has happened, but in previous cases they've been retracted after SteamDB has contacted the sender. In this situation, it hasn't been able to do so.
"They initially sent a takedown notice (which was just the URL in question and the sentence "Original Work: Sega creates copyrighted software and game programs which can be found at https://sega.com/games.") to CloudFlare on March 12 that got forwarded to us by the host on the 19th," he told me.
"We replied to the e-mail address that sent it to Cloudflare asking for clarification (because that is a very generic sentence) and explained that SteamDB doesn't actually sell or provide any game downloads. Apparently they ignored said e-mail because today we got a longer and more serious DMCA notice that went out to our host directly."
Unfortunately, until Djundik or SteamDB co-creator Martin Benjamins can make contact with Sega, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is going to remain absent from the site. "Aside from trying to get in contact with someone at Sega, we're not in a position to do anything. We're a hobby project run by 2 people in their spare time and don't have any resources/energy/time to fight or even argue about this," he said.
The good news is that the Yakuza: Like a Dragon takedown isn't likely a harbinger for bigger problems down the road, like more (or more sweeping) takedown requests from publishers: "From my previous experience with dmcas, it almost always boils down to brand protection just firing off dmcas at anyone without even looking at the site," Djundik said.
Somewhat ironically, earlier today Sega was named Metacritic's top-ranked publisher of 2020, on the strength of games including Persona 4 Golden, Football Manager 2021, and—you guessed it—Yakuza: Like a Dragon (83). A Sega rep said the company's legal team is now looking into the situation.