On Sunday, September 18, one of the most unexpected and biggest media leaks of all time appeared on the internet. The leak in question contained video clips from the highly anticipated video game, Grand Theft Auto VI. While video game and film leaks are not uncommon, ones of this scale and ones this concrete are.
A leak is an unsanctioned release of information or data. This can relate to video games, films, music, books, and even things such as news and government documents. They can also come in several different forms. In the case of the Grand Theft Auto VI leaks, 90 minutes of video clips from different points in the development process were released, However, leaks can also be images, audio, and even strings of data and code. If it is a video game, these leaks can contain information about the story, the gameplay, and other elements pertaining to the game. Leaks can also come from many different sources. Sometimes, it will be from an internal source such as an employee of a company, or someone affiliated with the project. Leaks can also come from an external source such as a hacker who has gained access to information.
Aside from the Grand Theft Auto VI leaks, other well-known leaks of recent years came from The Last of Us Part II, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Need for Speed: Unbound. Additionally, major leaks from the film, Spider-Man: No Way Home came out before the film was released.
The consequences of these leaks can vary depending on the severity and content of the leaks. In the Grand Theft Auto VI case, a 17-year-old from the UK was arrested on suspicion of hacking and is believed to be the leaker. In other cases, the leakers are taken to court, or the leaks are simply removed from the internet. Typically, leaks don’t impact the overall production of the media, however it does frustrate developers as it means their hard work has been revealed before they intended.
Competitive gamer, Michael Koppeis says, “In the modern age of the internet, video game leaks are commonplace for better or worse. I think in some ways, it can build hype for a game. However, it can also spoil an otherwise impactful reveal that the developers spend a ton of time and money on.”
Unfortunately, there is no uniform way to handle leaks, as no two leaks are exactly the same. Developers and companies usually do as they see fit, but there is no doubt that the leaks can have very negative effects.
This article originally appeared in The BKTV Studios.