By Nivedita Balu
Sept 19 (Reuters) – Take-Two Interactive Software Inc confirmed on Monday that a hacker had leaked the first images of Grand Theft Auto VI, the next installment of the best-selling video game.
The hacker posted dozens of game development videos on an online bulletin board showing footage of robberies, shootouts and open-world driving, in what could be one of the biggest leaks in the gaming industry. .
However, the company said it did not expect the incident to affect game development, helping its shares recoup some of its losses after a 6% drop in premarket trading.
“Current Rockstar Games services are not affected. We have already taken steps to isolate and contain this incident,” Take-Two said in a statement.
The incident raised fears of a delay in the launch of the long-awaited title, whose development was confirmed in February. Some analysts were also concerned about a possible leak of the game’s source code.
“If the source code is leaked, significant changes under the hood of the game may need to be made to ensure its stability, and the integrity of the GTA VI Online server once it launches,” said Jefferies analyst Andrew Uerkwitz.
However, most brokers said the first images looked good despite not being intended for distribution.
“The leaked images only confirm existing market rumors about the game’s development that have been circulating for years,” said Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey.
“We are increasingly confident that the game can launch in FY25 and provide a significant catalyst for revenue and profit growth.”
GTA VI would generate $3.5 billion in revenue at launch and an annual average of $2 billion thereafter, according to BofA Global Research.
The hacker, who also claimed to be the person behind a cyber incident at Uber Technologies Inc last week, posted a message on the forum about seeking to “negotiate a deal” with Take-Two.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)