The highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 6 video game from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc TTWO was officially confirmed by the company earlier this year but had no release date set.
Gamers had been waiting for it to come out for years with the last game in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, released in 2013.
Over the years, leaks and rumors had made their way on the internet with Take-Two not confirming much.
Rumors earlier this year said the new game would be released in 2024 and featured a cryptocurrency system similar to Bitcoin BTC/USD in gameplay. Gamers would also be able to travel across continents in the game.
Another rumor linked the game to having the first female protagonist in the history of the franchise, with a pair of twins, one male, one female, separated after the death of their parents being the main characters.
What Happened: Over the weekend, gamers got leaked footage that was later confirmed by Take-Two to be real game footage.
“We are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way,” Rockstar Games, a unit of Take-Two said.
The company said it will continue to work on the game and “properly introduce you to this next game when it is ready.”
Here’s what analysts are saying about the company after the leak.
Bank of America - Will The Impact Be Negative?: Analyst Omar Dessouky said the impact on Take-Two stock could be negative from the leaked footage as it meant the game might not be ready for a 2023 release. The leak could also mean intellectual property was stolen from the company, which could be a factor down the road.
“We saw no indication that the next GTA could be Alpha testing already. The most advanced-stage clip we saw, which likely dated Spring ’22, appeared rough and barely playable,” Dessouky said.
Dessouky had a Neutral rating on Take-Two and a price target of $130.
Check out other analyst stock ratings.
Raymond James - Timeline Delay?: The leaked gameplay footage could impact the release timeline, according to Raymond James analyst Andrew Marok, who had a Market Perform rating on Take-Two.
“The footage seems to confirm many elements of GTA 6 that have been speculated in recent months, including the addition of a female playable protagonist and the setting of Vice City,” Marok said.
The analyst noted the hacker threatened to release source code for Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto 6.
With the game in development for several years, Marok said it was hard to point to when the leaked videos were actually filmed.
“The potential compromising of GTA 6 source code would be likely to delay planned release timelines, creating significant amounts of extra work to undo the damage the hacker has caused.”
The analyst continued to believe the game will be released in the fiscal year 2025 and called the leak a “negative short-term catalyst.”
“Given the anticipation of GTA 6’s release and the dearth of information on the title, these unexpected revelations would typically be seen as a positive short-term catalyst for TTWO shares, though we believe that dynamic is more than offset by concerns over potential delays resulting from the leak.”
Wedbush - Content is "Very Good": Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter told Benzinga that Take-Two had been working on the game for seven years, which meant there was a lot of content that could be leaked. Pachter said the leaked content was “very good.”
“My guess is that the game will come out at year-end 2025, with a small chance it is ready sooner,” Pachter said.
Benzinga’s Take: The June leak claimed Grand Theft Auto 6 could be released in 2024, which came in ahead of most analyst estimates. Many analysts put the game, which has no announced release date, on the 2025 schedule.
Take-Two confirmed the game was being worked on, which could suggest it was nearing the finish line.
The big questions are if the leak impacted the company’s original timeline to release the game and what the original timeline was.
Take-Two had been circulated as an acquisition target for years with the video game sector seeing recent consolidation. The leak and potential disruption could see companies shy away from acquiring Take-Two or could have companies seeing the gameplay footage jumping in to lock up a deal before the game is released.
TTWO Price Action: Take-Two shares reversed course on Monday going from a low of $120.05 and trading down to start the day to being up 0.72% to $125.08 at market close Monday. After-hour shares are down 0.26% at $124.75. Shares have traded between $101.85 and $195.83 over the last 52 weeks.
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