Last year in September, a pre-release version of Rockstar’s highly anticipated GTA 6 was accidentally leaked online, which was the biggest leak the company had experienced. Rockstar promptly addressed the situation and expressed their disappointment in how the leak occurred, but assured that their work on the game would not halt.
Despite the passage of five months, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, Strauss Zelnick, is still feeling the emotional impact of the GTA 6 leak. In an interview with IGN, Zelnick stated that leaks are extremely frustrating and upsetting to the development team, but that it has not affected their business operations. However, the leak still has a personal and emotional impact on the team.
Due to the significance of the leak, Rockstar worked closely with the appropriate authorities, including the FBI and the Department of Justice, to track down the source of the leak. It is believed that the hacker group Lapsus, which has a history of attacking major companies such as Microsoft, Uber, and Nvidia, was responsible for the GTA 6 leak. In response to the leak, a 17-year-old suspect was arrested in the UK and charged with leaking material related to the game. They entered a plea of not guilty.
The next installment of the Grand Theft Auto series is one of the most eagerly awaited games in gaming history. It has been a decade since Grand Theft Auto V was first released on older generation gaming consoles. Although Rockstar Games has acknowledged that GTA 6 is in development, there has been no official announcement regarding its release date. The leak of an in-progress video of the game last year gave fans an unauthorized preview of the game’s characters, gameplay, and open-world environment. Despite the concerns raised by the leak, Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar, reported that the leak had no negative impact on their business, although their most recent financial report came in slightly below their target.
Zelnick discussed the fan excitement for the franchise, crediting it to the fans’ passion which inspired the team to create top-notch games. He acknowledged that the leak may have intensified the excitement but emphasized that the company’s priority remains to deliver a high-quality gaming experience.
The recent earnings announcement did not provide any new information regarding GTA 6. However, it hinted at the possibility of layoffs at Take-Two as the company failed to reach its financial targets. They will be implementing cost-saving measures soon. In the meantime, GTA 5 remains a best-seller, with 175 million copies sold and an additional five million sold during the last quarter. It holds the title of being the second best-selling game of all time.
The recent earnings report suggests that Take-Two employees could face consequences due to the company’s financial performance, including potential layoffs. Although the company generated $1.38 billion in net bookings during the quarter, which was below the target of $1.41 billion, Take-Two is implementing cost-saving measures that are expected to save around $50 million each year. The company has stated that these measures may have an impact on personnel.
When I enquired with Zelnick about layoffs, he replied that it is not currently part of their plans. However, he acknowledged that while he doesn’t anticipate major layoffs, some job losses may occur. He stated that while the company doesn’t guarantee employment for life, there may be some isolated cases where jobs are cut, but he considers this to be minimal.
Take-Two claims that the cost-cutting initiatives and missed guidance result from the present “macroeconomic conditions,” which have led to customers spending more on well-liked and deeply discounted brands and titles. Although Take-Two did reap some benefits from this trend, it harmed consumer spending on console and PC titles and upcoming releases (such as Marvel’s Midnight Suns, published in December). It’s important to note that several IT and gaming businesses have claimed comparable results.
Additionally, Take-Two updated unit sales for its two most well-known games, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto 5. GTA5 sold more than 175 million copies in the most recent quarter, breaking the previous record by approximately 5 million. It was also the second-best-selling game on Steam in 2017 and the third-best-selling match in the United States in 2022, according to unit sales.