FTC ends 'Hot Coffee' probe

Yearlong investigation into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas sex scandal ends with no fines levied; Take-Two "extremely pleased."

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A yearlong Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into Take-Two Interactive is finally and formally over, as the publisher today announced that the FTC unanimously approved a settlement outlined last month.

The investigation followed last year's discovery of the hidden "Hot Coffee" sex minigame in Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. After the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rerated the game AO for Adults Only, the FTC launched an investigation into the company's advertising practices surrounding the game. Take-Two recalled all copies of San Andreas, releasing an edited version with the rating of M for Mature restored later on.

As part of the agreement, which sees no fines or penalties levied against Take-Two, the publisher has committed to not misrepresenting a game's rating or content descriptors. It also must set up a system to ensure that all game content is reviewed by the publisher in connection with a game's submission to the ESRB.

Take-Two CEO Paul Eibler said in a statement that the company was "extremely pleased" that the investigation was finally over.

"We recognize the importance of maintaining public confidence in the Entertainment Software Rating Board rating system and helping the ESRB educate parents and consumers about the rating system," Eibler said. "We look forward to putting this behind us and focusing on what we do best--creating video games."

While Take-Two was not fined for the San Andreas controversy, the FTC last month did warn the publisher that if it violates the terms of its agreement in the future, it would carry a fine of $11,000 per violation. That might not sound like much to a company that can make hundreds of millions of dollars off of a hit like San Andreas, but it would be up to a judge to decide what constitutes a violation. Given that judges have ruled on FTC violations differently in the past, that could equal a fine for each copy sold, for each day a game was on sale with an improperly advertised rating, or for some other metric of the judge's choosing.

Discussion

242 comments
Philo350
Philo350

MEH who cares!! old news

SGT4EVA
SGT4EVA

im from 2008! man this things old

wildsoul0509
wildsoul0509

finaly!! well gta: san andreas is a great game a little boring whit the story line but it's the best in the series of gta

lrsp
lrsp

Viva Grand Theft Auto! Wew!

miiiguel
miiiguel

Everyone who's offended by pixelated sex-scenes must be but a wanker.

GAMEGEEK1
GAMEGEEK1

u cant just say people are hypocrites without giving a reason why (well u can u just sound stupid ) and i don't see how people thinking sex scenes are awful makes them a hypocrite PS. i know my spelling sucks but i have better things in life to do than spellcheck my writing

leeveeu
leeveeu

People that think those sex scenes are something awful are hypocrites.

GAMEGEEK1
GAMEGEEK1

even tho i detest the GTA series i do defend the right for a entertainment company to put out just about whatever they want. it is quite a nice cover up for irresponsible parents who let or even buy games like this for there children sex scenes or not but this is what u get for making a game with such a blatant disregard for moral values in the first place. i do wander why they just don't tip the bucket and make every GTA game after this (which I'm sure they will) AO then there's nothing to complain about and there not far off from an AO rating anyway PS. i know my spelling sucks but i have better things in life to do than spellcheck my writing

R3last
R3last

I agree a waste of time and energy but too many parents are lazy and have a sense of entitlement. Both parties are to blame, the morons who bought this for children and Take 2 for putting it in the game in the first place then trying to blame modders for it showing up, knowing that the PS2 game code wasn't modded.

Kcube
Kcube

I felt no sympathy for Take 2,There DID blame the modding community for making the Hot coffee scene when the reality was the modding community only unlocked it.I fail to see how Take 2 "forgot" to take it out.Take 2 and its irresponsibilty only hurt gamers by fueling people like Jack Thompson.

freakykidd
freakykidd

ABOUT BLOODY TIME! Seriously, one minigame in a GTA game that needed either a mod OR an action replay to play ended in an Investigation that lasted this long? This wouldnt have happened if parents actually noticed that pretty little 'M' rating on the box in the first place...

snoopy248
snoopy248

Bout time they settled this out.

cheesytaco69
cheesytaco69

Moving on to the next gaming lawsuit. What will it be? Nudity? Racism? Religion?

masterofTS
masterofTS

GTA:SA is so boring who cares. Maybe their games will be cleaner now? I would like that and can't wait for GTA4!

azntriad00
azntriad00

now i havent played gta sa but i know that everyone knows that this is wat makes gta series so great. if they press charge on this game, its f *king ridiculous. might as well say: dont make such amazing games square. plus its only a game as the old say.

Dazlor
Dazlor

Ner, TBH im surprised R* didnt delete the coding completey. If there oblivious to the fact that GTA3 and VC got modified, HotCoffee was going to pop out one way or the other. If they only gave it another week for release and deleted it, NONE of this would of ever of happened

_Cab0ose87_
_Cab0ose87_

This is NOT over, as long as there are games with women in them there's going to be some low-life jerk-off who just has to see them naked... They're just sad, sad people.. SAD people.

gusnitro
gusnitro

Alright designers a rockstar. Start making better sex mini games in gta games! MUUHHAA!

suicide2005
suicide2005

Take-two shouldn't have had to go through that at all. They went through a year of hell even after editing the game. But i am happy that there were no fines because Take-two shouldn't have to pay fines for a game that was Mature rated to begin with.

Kastigador
Kastigador

The true intent of this investigation was not Hot Coffee. I was to draw attention to the issue of adult content in video games and set a precedent with getting their hands into the video game business. NOBODY involved in the entire political discussion of the video game industry has honest intentions here. They are ALL are simply in it to grab headlines and Jack Thompson is the leader of the press parade by being the most absurd. Every other adult interested in this as problematic "issue" is simply thinking of video games as being a child's toy and arguably has no other perspective on the issue. Too bad they vote. I do think it is quite funny that the item that triggers an uproar is sexual which is pretty harmless compared to all the gratuitous killing and criminal acts that go on. Just goes to show the US is truly a country more accepting of violence than procreation.

NWA_31
NWA_31

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

snickerscd
snickerscd

Great, now I can get back to running over police men and tagging walls without feeling bad about the natural act of sex.

darthfrag
darthfrag

Jack Thompson must be rolling over in his grave right about now. Oh, wait... I don't think he's dead yet. But a guy can dream, can't he?

Manonfire12
Manonfire12

It's about time we put this behind us all.

Rocky_D
Rocky_D

Waste of time and money, gg. GTA owns!

CoyAv2
CoyAv2

there's nude patches for the sims and other games; why aren't they AO?

gameman_4
gameman_4

man those guys really didnt have anything else to investigate did they? its called a MOD u a-holes MODIFICATION as in NOT ORIGINAL people without internet, hormones or any other interest in it would never have been capable of playing the mini-game

Rumstocker
Rumstocker

stillplaygbc, i guess we know why you still play gbc... this is one of the greatest games ever made... maybe try to save up for a new (but old) system

robsteak
robsteak

The fact that most people seem to miss is that the whole "Hot Coffee" part of the game was not hidden, it was disabled. Almost every game out there has code that does nothing; just does nothing. In order to access that code, the EULA must be broken, the game must be hacked. It is not the fault of the developers for the action of hackers. It's like blaming the store for a thief breaking a window in the middle of the night and robbing it. Laws are there to tell people not rob stores, the EULA is there to tell people not to muck with their code. Long story short, it is not Rockstar's fault that someone violates that agreement and changes their game.

stillplaygbc
stillplaygbc

This game is bad to begin with, I cant believe they used taxpayer money to investigate a worthless company with a worthless game. And Rockstar lied, they were being stupid when they said it was troublemakers, PS2 discs cant be reformatted. I hope Rockstar's and Take-Two's CEO's are found in a motel room with Ms. Hot Coffee and get an STD and die.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

so T2 got a half-slap on the hand. look for "boiling coffee" in GTA 4 :)

MSE369
MSE369

noo offence too any1 but ppl shoud start livin and takin care of their children themselves and bee responsible adults....

Jofulikestofu
Jofulikestofu

if the gamer was a kid, chances are they wouldn't be intersdted in that mod anyway, and if they were, your kids got some problems already.

rynmls
rynmls

take two can breath freely again hehehe...

mikekare79
mikekare79

Thank goodness!! Parents need to just take care of things themselves.

julaggio
julaggio

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Leria
Leria

To be blunt, I never really thought that this was a big problem in the first place. I have no problem with children playing even A/O games with strong sexual content (as long as they do not have extreme themes like rape or torture). It isn't like they haven't seen their parents, cousins, brothers, sisters, etc. naked before and been sexually excited, even if they do not know that is the feeling they have had. Sex is a natural part of human nature, for children as well as for adults. It's about time we stopped worrying about that, and focused on VIOLENCE in REAL LIFE! That is what is harming children, seeing mommy and daddy beating each other up in real life.

BlackVBlack
BlackVBlack

YES! Worry about games to damage our society! Rising crime rates, Drug availibility to kids, the situation in the middle east and racism are no threat compared to a pair of square boobies! Good job America!

bacomonk
bacomonk

I never even thought about that God of War scene..... I guess everyone's just hating on people who make teh gangsta games.

omegabyte
omegabyte

The thing I find funniest about the whole Hot Coffee thing is that God of War, another M rated game, has a sex mini-game as well, unhidden and not requiring any cheats or mods. It also has cutscenes with topless prostitutes, and yet the ESRB gets all fussy over a really silly mini-game where the protagonist doesn't even take his pants off.