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Video game publishers under threat from piracy

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Tuesday was the turn of Diablo 4another major title scheduled 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 most emblematic case remains that of CD Projekt RED: the Polish group had published in 2021 a copy of the ransom demand from pirates who said they had stolen the source code [l’architecture informatique d’un programme] major productions like Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3as well as internal documents.

A man stands in front of a car looking at a futuristic city.

An image from the game “Cyberpunk 2077”

Photo: Courtesy / CD Projekt

The hacker promises new leaks

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

It’s disappointing that details of the next game are being passed on to you this way.lamented Rockstar Games, which confirmed last February that it was designing the sixth installment in its successful series, without however providing a release date.

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

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

A shaken launch strategy

What are the consequences on game development 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 is negative word-of-mouth in terms of image that flattens the launch strategy of the game by removing any element of surprise, according to Julien Pillot, economist specializing in cultural industries.

After such a misadventure, the objective is to reassure future customers and the market on the the company’s ability to react to this leakadds 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.

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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 production time of the game will inevitably lengthen, not to mention the additional costsaccording to experts.

The source code, the sinews of war

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

The source code is the know-how, it is the intellectual capital of the 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’s really the source code that was stolen, I believe Rockstar has an obligation to recover it somehow.adds Julien Pillot.

The source code is really the DNA of the game, its skeleton. It costs way too much and takes way too much time to start from scratch.he concludes.

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