(Reuters) – A hacker released gameplay from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc’s Grand Theft Auto VI in one of the biggest leaks in gaming history, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday.
Dozens of authentic, pre-release videos from GTA VI – of robberies, gunplay and open-world driving – were posted on an online message board over the weekend, media reports said.
The hacker also posted a message seeking to “negotiate a deal” and asked Rockstar Games or parent company Take-Two to contact them, according to the Bloomberg report.
Rockstar Games, a video game studio owned by Take-Two, is the developer of Grand Theft Auto, one of the best-selling videogame franchises of all time.
Take-Two Interactive did not respond to a Reuters request for comment outside regular business hours.
The hotly anticipated GTA VI is estimated to generate $3.5 billion of bookings at launch and an average of $2 billion annually thereafter, according to Bank of America.
The release could offer a much-needed boost to the U.S. gaming company, which forecast weak annual sales in August in a sign that a thin slate of major releases and easing COVID-19 curbs have reined in the industry’s pandemic-era boom.
The gaming industry, considered by some analysts as “recession proof”, has started to see some weakness as inflation-hit consumers rein in spending on entertainment.
(Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)