Image of the week: Grand hack
Is there life left in the Grand Theft Auto franchise? Stupid question. Never mind life left, the internet excitement meter points to a veritable growth explosion still to come. The console game’s developer Rockstar Games this week published its trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI – a game that isn’t even due to be released until 2025 – and wound up reaping the sort of consumer enthusiasm that every Hollywood studio would kill for.
After more than 90 videos and images from the game were leaked online by a hacker after a “network intrusion”, Rockstar duly released the trailer on Monday instead of the scheduled Tuesday reveal. For its trouble, it racked up 62 million views within the first 13 hours, with the 90-second teaser confirming the game will be set in the fictional Miami-inspired location of Vice City and – conspicuously for a franchise that has been accused of misogyny – will feature a female protagonist called Lucia.
When combined with its online version, Grand Theft Auto V is the single-most profitable entertainment product of all time, having generated more than than $7.7 billion (€7.1 billion) for Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive Software since its release in 2013.
Alas, Take-Two’s shares fell on Tuesday, as shareholders had been hoping that Grand Theft Auto VI would have a 2024 release date. Some people are never happy.
In numbers: It’s in the mail
The Australian postal service has announced it will stop delivering letters on a daily basis from next year, moving instead to delivery every second business day. Priority mail services will still be available for an extra cost.
Drop in letters posted in the country over the last 15 years. The move away from daily delivery will “free up our posties” for parcels and packages, according to Australia Post chief executive Paul Graham.
Euro equivalent of the Aussie dollar losses in the company’s letters business in the year to June – both this 50 per cent swelling in letters losses and a desire to capitalise on the ecommerce boom has sounded the death knell for next-day delivery.
Getting to know: Lukasz Krupski
Earlier this year, Lukasz Krupski, a former employee of Tesla in Norway, leaked customer complaints and other data about its self-driving cars to German newspaper Handelsblatt. They became known as the Tesla Files.
But if life working for Elon Musk’s car behemoth was difficult for Krupski in the months before he was fired by Norwegian executives for alleged poor time management and bad behaviour, life as a Tesla whistleblower appears to be almost as stressful, with Krupski telling the BBC’s technology editor Zoe Kleinman this week that he sometimes barely sleeps at night.
He also said he did not believe the artificial intelligence (AI) being used to power Tesla’s autopilot service – which includes assisted steering and parking but still requires human hands on the wheel – was ready for use on public roads.
Disconcertingly, he also raised the spectre of “phantom braking”, a phenomenon documented in some customer complaints. It refers to when self-driving vehicles take it upon themselves to randomly brake in response to non-existent obstacles like shadows – something fun to dwell on when you’re trying to sleep tonight.
The list: Euro notes redesign
You might think the European Central Bank (ECB) is busy enough these days trying to work out the future direction of interest rate policy, but it has also been finding time for its project to redesign euro banknotes, commissioning a public survey on seven shortlisted themes from research company Kantar. So what did it find?
1. European culture: This was the most favoured theme among the 23,377 respondents surveyed in 20 euro zone countries plus future euro user Bulgaria, chosen by 21 per cent.
2. Rivers, the waters of life in Europe: This was the second most popular, chosen by 18 per cent.
3. Birds – free, resilient, inspiring: Some 17 per cent thought this said “banknote” to them. The ECB’s governing council has now selected “European culture” and “rivers and birds” as the themes it will choose from.
4. Values and unity: The themes “European values mirrored in nature” and “hands: together we build Europe” didn’t make the cut, with only 13 per cent and 12 per cent respectively citing them as their favourite.
5. Say what: “The future is yours” and “our Europe, ourselves” were the least preferred themes, probably because fewer people were sure what they meant or how they might be illustrated in cash form.