Social media outlets such as Reddit, the GTAV Net forums and YouTube were exploding tonight with hype, the screams of a thousand school-girls and the understandable frothing of the loins when someone, somewhere, somehow obtained an early copy of Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar Games' upcoming, highly anticipated instalment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise has been undeniably on everyone's radar since the company - for the first time in their history - released official gameplay not only for single-player, but for Grand Theft Auto Online as well, prior to the game's launch.
Rockstar had recently issued a press release warning against the inevitable leakage that would be coming any time between now and the game's pending launch on 17 September this year. A gamer and Grand Theft Auto fan by the name of Jsticks11 on Vine and JackzahGames on YouTube took it upon himself to take screenshots and record gameplay footage before posting the media online, despite Rockstar's request against it and their warning that anything posted will be taken down immediately and swift consequences will follow.
Yesterday, image scans and photos of the official map provided in the Brady Games strategy guide arrived on the Internet and were taken down almost immediately. Gamers speculated that it served merely as foreshadowing of bigger exposures to come; and they were right.
The subsequent leaks provided gameplay footage that showcased spoilerific content that gamers across the globe viewed at their own discretion and content that was posted to Reddit as well as the GTAV Net forums were taken down almost immediately. YouTube videos are slowly, but surely being removed one-by-one and one can only imagine that the team over at Rockstar Games is jumping over chairs to make sure any and every leak is properly sealed.
According to multiple sources, speculation and insights, the gamer that provided the leaks was playing his copy of Grand Theft Auto V while signed into Microsoft's Xbox Live service and thus exposed himself to the teams at Rockstar Games and Xbox. The subsequent consequence resulted in a console ban, effective immediately.
Speculation suggests that purchasing a new Xbox 360 console will circumvent the console ban/suspension, but in the case of the person that leaked the Grand Theft Auto V content, Microsoft might have gone as far to ban/suspend not only his console, but his account and perhaps even his IP address. Needless to say, there is no circumventing that. "Customer Support for Xbox Live cannot undo an Xbox Live suspension for a console. Xbox Live console suspensions may also include permanent suspensions of Xbox Live accounts as well." There is neither confirmation nor denial of reserving the ability or right to ban/suspend a user's IP address; with that being said, purchasing a new Xbox Live subscription on a new console under a different gamertag might allow a suspended user to continue service. Otherwise, I'm afraid the man responsible for the leaks is SOL.
Rumour suggests that Rockstar Games implemented a mandatory update for Grand Theft Auto V that serves as a failsafe of sorts; when installed, the update notifies Rockstar if the update was installed before the game's official release date of 17 September, which allows them to gather the required information to contact Microsoft or Sony and follow up with a punishment for breaking the TCoU. It's not a stretch to imagine whatsoever.
With that being said, it begs the question: were the consequences worth leaking the footage? Definitely not. It seems Rockstar Games is pulling out all the stops to ensure that nothing they haven't released themselves is published online and justice, ladies and gentlemen, has been served.
Grand Theft Auto V launches officially in T-minus five days and counting, on 17 September 2013.