How the game and the industry could suffer from the leak

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Von: Adrienne Murawski

The GTA 6 leak shook the games industry. But the event could have far-reaching consequences that don’t just affect Rockstar Games.

Update from 09/20/2022: Numerous GTA 6 clips were leaked on Sunday September 18th. This will likely have numerous ramifications, not just for Rockstar Games itself, but for the gaming industry as a whole. After all, this is not the first leak that has been caused by one or more hackers. Yesterday Rockstar Games made an official statement about the GTA 6 Mega Leak. It said there will be no long-term effects or postponements from the leak.

name of the game Grand Theft Auto VI
Release (date of first publication) TBA
Publisher Rockstar Games
Serie Grand Theft Auto
platforms PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC (unconfirmed)
developer Rockstar North
Genre Open-World, Action-Adventure

GTA 6: Mega-Leak probably endangers the release – insiders speak of short-term shifts

However, the well-known GTA insider Tez2 now claims otherwise. According to him, Rockstar’s statement that there will be no long-term shifts is true, but there would definitely be short-term shifts. This is mainly due to the fact that the developer from New York is currently updating its QA builds and security of all titles.

Tez2’s tweet has since been deleted, but it’s entirely possible that the insider was right. Although there is no release date for GTA 6 yet, it is possible that it will be pushed back even further due to the leak. Instead of appearing in 2024/2025, the next Grand Theft Auto may not appear until late 2025 or early 2026.

First report from 09/19/2022: New York – On Sunday, September 18, 2022, a historic event took place in the gaming scene. An unknown person had leaked countless videos about GTA 6. There were a lot of impressions from the early development phase of the game from developer Rockstar Games. Many fans rejoiced in the glimpse, while others complained that the game was “ugly.”

But the GTA 6 leak may have far-reaching consequences – not only on the release of GTA 6 and the game itself, but also on the developers at Rockstar Games, on the parent company Take-Two and on the entire gaming industry. And of course you, the players, are probably hit harder by the leak than you previously thought.

GTA 6: Gigantic leak shows 90 videos from the game – these consequences could have on the release

That happened: September 18, 2022 will probably go down in gaming history as a historic day. Because on this Sunday, what is probably the biggest leak to date was published for a game. An unknown person has published over 90 videos about the next GTA game that the developer from New York is currently working on in the GTA Forum. It shows clips that probably date from 2019 to 2021 – so it’s footage from a very early stage of development. Accordingly, GTA 6 looks so far, because it is by no means a final version.

GTA 6 Leak: Gameplay videos show woman as protagonist © Rockstar Games

Insider Jason Schreier confirmed the authenticity of the GTA 6 leaks. Many fans were happy about the massive leak and the first look at the game. After all, Rockstar has kept gamers in suspense for years. Others complained and even said the game looked “ugly” and “unfinished”. Well, that’s because the videos are also from an unfinished game. GTA 6 is still in early stages of development and hasn’t been polished yet. After all, the game should probably not appear until 2024-2025. Whether this release time window is still up to date is now in the stars.

Effects on the release of GTA 6: So far, only the videos have been leaked from GTA 6, but the unknown person behind them is probably trying to blackmail developers Rockstar and Take-Two at the same time. The leaker demands high sums from the developers for the source code of GTA 6. If the hacker actually owns the source code and makes it available to the public, this could have immense consequences for GTA 6, the release and of course the developers and the industry itself.

According to the Twitter account GTAOnlineNews, only parts of the GTA 6 source code have been leaked so far. However, if the entire code or internal builds are released, this would probably lead to massive shifts. In the worst case, GTA 6 could even be completely discontinued. So fans really have no reason to be happy, because the leak means they will have to wait even longer for their beloved game or they will never get their hands on it.

Many insiders also deeply condemn the negative comments from some fans. For example, Tom Henderson, the well-known industry insider, writes on Twitter:

‘They (Rockstar Games, editor’s note) deserve it for not giving us anything (for GTA 6).’ How selfish can you be? The reality is that (Rockstar) doesn’t owe you anything and you (GTA 6) won’t be playing until 2024-2025 anyway. If the source code/developer build is leaked, (the release) will probably take even longer.

LegacyKillaHD, a well-known YouTuber, is also upset about the hateful comments about the “unfinished GTA 6”. So he explains that it looks unfinished because GTA 6 isn’t finished yet. The material shown is in-game developer footage that was never intended for the public. Rockstar tests animations and other things using low-res models or dummies. “Not difficult to understand“, so der YouTuber.

GTA 6 Leak increases pressure on developers – possible impact on the entire gaming industry

Consequences for Rockstar Games and Take-Two: Of course, the GTA 6 leak has an immense impact on the developers at Rockstar Games. First, it must be heartbreaking for developers to see unfinished material online without their consent. Then there are the comments from fans complaining about the way the game looks. Of course, there could also be serious consequences for the work itself.

A man screams angrily next to the GTA 6 logo
GTA 6: Fan-Proteste © Rockstar Games / Unsplash / IMAGO: agefotostock / Reddit: Lord_Towelie

This is how the leaker is said to have gained access to the company’s internal Slack channel. Slack is a business messenger, comparable to Microsoft Teams. The data leak could now limit the freedom of developers immensely. Employees could be prohibited from working from their home office because data security cannot be guaranteed there. In addition, work on GTA 6 will probably generally be stopped for some time until the damage can be assessed and repaired if necessary.

In the worst case, the developers have to scrap all previous work on GTA 6 and start over. As already described above, this would of course have an immense impact on the release of GTA 6. The shares of the parent company Take-Two are already falling. How bad the consequences of the GTA 6 leaks on Take-Two and Rockstar Games are cannot yet be finally estimated. What is certain, however, is that the pressure on the developers has increased, both externally and internally.

Consequences for the entire gaming industry: Since the corona pandemic, developers have also been working from home more and more often. But since the first lockdown, there have always been leaks of big games. It is probably relatively easy for hackers to hack into company-internal Slack messengers.

Strauss Zelnick and a logo mock-up for GTA 6
At the moment, the Take-Two CEO doesn’t look as happy as in this photo. © GTA Forums: gtamann123/Rockstar Games (Montage)

As a consequence of leaks like these, the entire gaming industry may change. The flexibility with home office rules could be a thing of the past again, general data security will probably be increased even more in the future. This means that processes could become even slower. So fans may have to wait even longer for games to be released in the next few years. So it’s questionable whether you can really be happy about the GTA 6 leak.

Numerous developers and industry giants have also expressed their sympathy for the Rockstar Games developers. Here’s how Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog, wrote a heartwarming tweet to Rockstar Games:

To my fellow developers out there who have been impacted by the latest leak: while it may feel overwhelming at the moment, it will pass. One day we’ll play your game, appreciate your work, and the leaks will be relegated to a footnote on a Wikipedia page. Stay tuned. Keep making art.

Many other industry insiders and big names join Druckmann and ask fans on Twitter, not to be spiteful about the material, but to remain respectful. In addition, it is recommended not to redistribute the leaked material yourself, otherwise a lawsuit from Take-Two could flutter into the house.