New reports indicate the recent GTA 6 leaks could lead to a major delay for the game.
Last night Rockstar Games' internal servers were infiltrated and a hacker stole multiple gigabytes worth of confidential data, including debug footage, pictures, and source code for a pre-alpha build of GTA 6. The leaks started circulating in the early morning hours and spread like wildfire. Take-Two Interactive is currently issuing takedown notices for the leaks, but for Rockstar Games it appears the damage has been done.
Developers are reportedly disheartened about the attack, which broke into private and closely-guarded servers, as well as the overall sentiment about the footage. The hacker is currently trying to blackmail Rockstar Games and is threatening to release source code for GTA V, GTA VI, and even an early GTA VI test build unless the studio can "negotiate a deal."
Multiple reports indicate that Rockstar's worldwide studios have been hit hard by the leak. This level of disruption and demoralization could significantly affect development of the game and lead to Take-Two Interactive to seek damages and press stringent litigation for those involved.
It's important to note the leaks were pre-alpha versions of the game and do not reflect any sort of finalized version. However the leaks are being judged harshly by gamers and represent security pitfalls at Rockstar, which can be distressing to developers who have worked in secret bound by NDAs on the project.
GTA 6 was reportedly set to release sometime in 2024, aligning with our predictions based on Take-Two's significant rise in forecasted revenue for the period.
Now the game could be delayed further as Rockstar's internal teams are rattled by the leak. Take-Two will likely give Rockstar Games all the time it needs to finish GTA 6. In the past, TTWO has been very lenient with Rockstar and given the studio multiple years to develop games (Red Dead Redemption 2, for example, had been delayed twice before launching in October 2018).
Publisher Take-Two Interactive has promised investors compounding yearly growth based on its massive slate of new games, which includes over 50 titles. GTA 6 is among these games and will be one of the heaviest-hitting titles of the arsenal. However given the importance of the Grand Theft Auto franchise for TTWO, it's likely the publisher will make special rules for Rockstar should the studio decide to delay GTA 6.
After all, Grand Theft Auto titles routinely make anywhere from 19-35% of Take-Two Interactive's quarterly gaming revenues.
Should GTA VI be delayed, GTA V could be stretched to fill in the gap with GTA Online content. TTWO can also rely on annual superstars like NBA 2K and now has the mobile might of Zynga to lean on in between major game releases.