Video game publishers under threat from piracy

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Video game publishers under the threat of piracy

Grand Theft Auto V has sold over 170 million copies worldwide since its release in 2013.

Stolen videos and bad publicity around one of the most anticipated video games: Rockstar Games, producer of the famous Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, saw clips of its sixth installment pirated and leaked on the Internet over the weekend last, symbol of the threat which weighs more and more on the developers and editors.

Tuesday, it was the turn of Diablo 4, another major title slated for release in 2023, to see long videos leaked on a specialized forum.

Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Capcom… The list of publishers victims of targeted cyberattacks has continued to grow in recent years.

The case the most emblematic remains that of CD Projekt RED: the Polish group had published in 2021 a copy of the ransom demand of hackers who said they had stolen the source codes [the computer architecture of a program] of major productions such as Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3, as well as internal documents.

An image of the game “Cyberpunk 2077”

The specialized PC Gamer site noted last weekend the publication of a file containing some 90 videos of the next GTA on specialized forums. Identifying himself as teapotuberhacker, the hacker promised to leak more information soon.

It's disappointing that details of the next game are being passed on to you in this way, lamented Rockstar Games, which confirmed last February that it was designing the sixth installment in its hit series, but did not provide any details. release date.

The stakes are high for the studio as Grand Theft Auto V, his most recent title, has sold more than 170 million copies worldwide since its release in 2013 and has generated nearly C$9.5 billion in revenue.

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A cash cow as popular as it is maligned for its violence, GTA allows players to commit a variety of crimes in cities inspired by New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

What are the consequences on the development of the game after such a hack? At this time, we do not anticipate any disruptions to our live gaming services, Rockstar assured. Our work continues as planned.

In reality, it's negative word-of-mouth in terms of image that flattens the game's launch strategy by removing any surprise effect, according to Julien Pillot, economist specializing in cultural industries. .

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After such a mishap, the objective is to reassure future customers and the market about the company's ability to react to this leak, adds Loïc Guézo, cybersecurity expert.

Because after having already been heckled on the stock market on Monday, the price of Take-Two Interactive, the American giant in the sector and owner of Rockstar Games, continued to drop by nearly 3% on Wall Street on Wednesday.

< p class="e-p">Whatever the diagnosis – between the inevitable launching of an audit to seek out the responsibilities, the cybersecurity teams which will have to redouble their efforts to find the breaches, and the upheaval to come for the creative teams – , the game's production time will inevitably increase, not to mention the additional costs, according to specialists.

This is without forgetting the biggest fear of the publishers on the cybersecurity plan: the theft of the source code of the game.

Source code is the know-how, it is the intellectual capital of the game. #x27;company, explains Loïc Guézo. An upstream analysis of the source code can give ideas on how to hack or hijack the functions of the game.

If it is really the source code that has been stolen, I believe that Rockstar is obliged to recover it one way or another, adds Julien Pillot.

The source code is x27; really is the DNA of the game, its skeleton. It costs far too much and requires far too much time for you to start from scratch, he concludes.

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