Game News GTA 6: What the leak can change at Rockstar and in the industry
You did not miss it: the colossal leak of Grand Theft Auto VI which is already thought to be the biggest in the history of video games. What are its possible consequences on the studio and the industry?
- What it can still change internally: The release date
- What it can change more generally: The question of telework
When more than 90 Grand Theft Auto VI gameplay videos leak in advance, it’s chaos at Rockstar. What this has already changed is obviously the morale of the troops, as well as the price of Take-Two stock. As you can imagine, the parent company of Rockstar Games is having a difficult start to the week on the stock market. According to Reuters, the company’s share price fell more than 6% in pre-market trading on September 19, the day of the tragedy. A direct and almost natural effect of the crisis encountered. But let’s also talk about what the event could generate later internally and more generally in the industry.
What it can still change internally: The release date
We don’t even know it, and yet we already imagine that it could be postponed until later: the release date of GTA 6 is now debated. Rockstar nevertheless claims that the work is continuing as normally as possible: “At this time, we do not anticipate any disruption to our live gaming services, or any long-term effects on the development of our ongoing projects.” On the other hand, if Rockstar recognizes an intrusion into its systems, there is no mention of the source codes of Grand Theft Auto V and GTA VI that the pirate claimed to sell for a while.
Public release of the source code for these two titles would be dramatic for Rockstar Games. We are still talking here about the very foundation of a video game which includes absolutely essential information such as data on the game engine. Once you understand how it works, then it becomes very easy to create hacks. Even worse in the case of Grand Theft Auto V, if the source code fell into the wrong hands, it would allow hackers as well as cheaters to find new vulnerabilities and exploit them in Grand Theft Auto Online, the main source of income for the American publisher. Finally, if the source code of GTA 6 is released, everyone would become able to use free technology developed by Rockstar Games to place themselves as an essential reference in the industry. Also remember the drama Half-Life 2 in 2003: the source code leaked on the Internet and made available a fully playable version of the game in development. For Valve, it’s a real drama and the studio is forced to postpone the game to the following year and remove some of the leaked content.
What it can change more generally: The question of telework
Since the start of the pandemic and containment measures in 2020, the practice of teleworking has multiplied and has often been the reason for the delay of a lot of video game content. Working from home on a major triple A necessarily entails several technical and organizational problems. But of course, it also represents a more viable convenience for developers around the world to gain access to better flexibility and of course more family life time. An essential point all the same in a sector which is often criticized for being subject to a culture of crunch.
So what can happen when a work tool whose usefulness is to communicate remotely is subject to hacking? Difficult for Rockstar employees to share confidential content behind closed doors when they are not in the office. So they use Slack, a tool already hijacked in 2021 on the side of EA when 780 GB of data is stolen from it. According to journalist Jason Schreier, it’s obvious: “their Slack wouldn’t have had so many work in progress folders if remote work hadn’t existed.“
To those who asked: there are several reasons why this is a nightmare for Rockstar. The first is that it will disrupt work for a while. Another is that it can lead management to limit the flexibility of working from home. The repercussions of this leak may not be clear for quite a while – Jason Schreier.
The repercussions could be visible at Rockstar as well as at a multitude of other large studios that have become cautious following the affair. Let’s wait and see.