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GTA 6 trailer leak spoiled the biggest video game moment in a decade | Opinion

The Rockstar PR team must be wondering if they will ever catch a break. For a developer that’s only put out two original games in the past ten years, they sure have had plenty of fires to put out. Hell, they can’t even port Red Dead Redemption to other platforms without evoking the wrath of the internet.

This week is less about angering social media, and more to do with another leak around the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 6. After last year’s disappointing hack that exposed 90 work-in-progress gameplay videos, the highly anticipated trailer, which was due to debut later today, found its way onto the internet 14 hours early.

Rockstar was forced to react and put the video out officially, and the reception to the 90-second trailer has been very positive. But this isn’t what was supposed to happen. The trailer dropped late in the evening for those in Europe, so most of those fans won’t have seen it until the morning. And the media was forced to hastily reschedule their planned coverage as they rushed to share the news with their readers.

It was a disappointing start to a significant week for the video games business when it comes to new game announcements.

Some of my peers in the media argue that this is all just an advert, and that bemoaning leaks is just doing the marketing department’s job for them. But it’s one thing to leak the existence of a game, and quite another to share actual material and videos related to it.

This isn’t how Grand Theft Auto 6 was meant to be shown to the world. The first time that players ‘experience’ GTA 6 isn’t when they boot up the game, but when they see that first screenshot, or that logo, or the trailer. In today’s world, the marketing campaign and all the elements associated with it are an extension to the game itself.

There were GTA fans organising watch parties for this trailer, there were media outlets and YouTubers planning live streams, reaction videos, podcasts, articles… a game reveal, particularly one of this scale, is a community event and an opportunity for fans to come together around a single moment. And you don’t get a bigger moment than this, not just for video games but for the whole of entertainment.

We’ve not had a great deal of moments this year. We’ve had plenty of big game releases, sure. But with no E3, and with platform holders focusing mainly on what was coming out during 2023 (outside of Xbox, who showed a bit more with its summer showcase), it’s not been a vintage year for exciting announcements. But the reveal of a Grand Theft Auto is a once-in-a-decade event, one nobody would want to miss (and many did).

Does it matter in the grand scheme of things? No, not really. The trailer is certainly impressive, and the team of Rockstar should be proud of it. Judging by all the social media chatter – and the data shared with us – fans are excited and the number of views for it are on a totally new scale. It’ll almost certainly be the biggest video game launch ever when it arrives in 2025, and we’d have all-but-forgotten about that time the first trailer leaked a bit early.

But right now, it all feels like a bit of a shame.

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