Sony apologizes to fans for 'Grand Theft Auto 5' hack

Sony has issued a public apology for its part in a high-profile hack of the upcoming "Grand Theft Auto 5."
Sony has issued a public apology for its part in a high-profile hack of the upcoming "Grand Theft Auto 5."

Sony issued a public apology to "Grand Theft Auto 5" developer Rockstar Games and to fans of the blockbuster video game franchise over the weekend after copies of the game that were downloaded from the EU PlayStation Store were prematurely opened by hackers. The game is due out Sept. 17 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

While the hackers weren't able to get the entire game up and running, they did manage to extract audio and video files containing details about the "Grand Theft Auto 5" storyline and soundtrack. Spoiler-phobic "GTA" fans were shocked to see details about the highly anticipated "Grand Theft Auto 5" begin to trickle across gaming forums late last week. Some gamers discussing the leak on a Reddit thread even managed to piece together a near-complete soundtrack for the game.

Writing on the official EU PlayStation blog, Nick Caplin, head of communications for Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe, said that the hackers obtained copies of "Grand Theft Auto 5" legally by taking part in an offer the company was making to PlayStation 3 customers to allow them to pre-load the game onto their consoles prior to its official release.

"Regrettably, some people who downloaded the digital pre-order of Grand Theft Auto 5 through the PlayStation Store in Europe were able to access certain GTA5 assets," Caplin said in a statement Saturday. "These assets were posted online."

Videos of the "GTA 5" assets have mostly been pulled from sites like YouTube, and Rockstar has requested that fan sites like remove details of the hack.

"We have since removed the digital pre-order file from the PlayStation Store in Europe," he added. "We sincerely apologize to Rockstar and 'GTA' fans across the world who were exposed to the spoiler content. 'GTA 5' is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year with a very passionate following, and we're looking forward to a historic launch on September 17."

Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: