Security breach

Grand theft hits games developer Rockstar

Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto Five was a global sensation

Footage from the next edition of the Grant Theft Auto computer games franchise has been leaked online by a hacker in one of the sector’s biggest security breaches.

Rockstar Games, based in New York and Edinburgh, said it remained unclear how the “network intrusion” occurred, but admitted that “early development footage” from GTA VI had been stolen.

The company said it was “extremely disappointed” that some players would have prematurely seen aspects of the upcoming release of the game, scheduled for 2024 and only confirmed in February.

A hacker going by the name teapotuberhacker posted about 90 videos, totalling 50 minutes of footage from an in-development version of the game, along with the source code which could lead to copying of the game.

Shares in New York-based parent group, Take-Two Interactive Studios, fell up to 6% but were pegged back issued after an assurance that it did not expect the hack to affect the game’s development and closed the day up by 89 cents at $125.08.

Rockstar is understood to have issued takedown orders to remove the footage from YouTube and Twitter.

Grand Theft Auto, first released in 1997, was developed in Scotland and became one of the world’s most popular video games. GTA V became an international bestseller after its release in 2013.

Rockstar North
Rockstar has a base in the former offices of The Scotsman newspaper (pic: Terry Murden)

Analysts at Jefferies, the broker, said yesterday that the early release of video and images from GTA VI was “a publicity disaster, possibly damaging production and morale”.

Rockstar said in a statement released to Twitter: “We recently suffered a network intrusion in which an unauthorised third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems, including early development footage for the next Grand Theft Auto.

“At this time, we do not anticipate any disruption to our live game services nor any long-term effect on the development of our projects.”

Rockstar pledged to provide an additional update soon and to “properly introduce” players to the next iteration of Grand Theft Auto “when it’s ready”.

The New York-based Take-Two is valued at almost $21 billion and this year expanded with the $12.7 billion acquisition of Zynga, the specialist mobile developer behind FarmVille and Words with Friends. 



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