Take-Two to settle Hot Coffee suits

Publisher avoids admission of wrongdoing in class action by offering customers edited Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or $35 cash payment.

More than two years after the notorious "Hot Coffee" mod revealed a sex minigame hidden in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Take-Two Interactive is still trying to put the incident behind it. The publisher is one step closer to that goal today, as it announced a preliminary settlement agreement that should resolve class-action lawsuits stemming from the controversy.

In March, Take-Two Interactive first said it was going to discuss a potential settlement with a customer who sued the company, alleging fraud and consumer deception stemming from the scandal. Today the publisher said it had reached a settlement (pending approval from the court) that would see the dismissal of all claims in Hot Coffee-related class-action lawsuits against the company. What's more, under the proposed settlement, neither Take-Two Interactive nor San Andreas developer Rockstar Games would admit liability or wrongdoing in the matter.

"If the case had continued, we believe the court would have agreed that Take-Two was not liable for consumers acting independently to modify their games with third-party hardware and software to access normally inaccessible content," Take-Two CEO Ben Feder said in a statement. "Nonetheless, we believe it is in the best interest of the Company to avoid protracted and costly litigation to prove our case and to finally put this matter behind us."

As for the settlement itself, Take-Two will be providing a range of remedies to customers, from an exchange program to replace AO-rated versions of the game with M-rated discs to $35 cash payments for those with detailed proof of purchase. In order to claim these benefits, customers will have to swear that they bought a copy of the game before July 20, 2005, and were "offended and upset by the ability of consumers to modify and alter the game's content" with the mod. They also would have to swear that they wouldn't have purchased the game if they'd known about the mod, and would have returned the game upon learning of the mod if they thought they could.

Take-Two has said it will spend at least $1 million on settlement benefits, but its out-of-pocket costs as a result of the agreement will be capped at $2.75 million. That amount does not include the costs of notifying members of the class and legal fees Take-Two has agreed to pay to the plaintiffs' legal representation.

The full settlement will not be disclosed until it is actually filed for court approval by the plaintiff, which Take-Two expects to happen later this month. Details on how the claims process will be handled have not yet been revealed.

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Discussion

132 comments
CompaqFS7600
CompaqFS7600

The owner of Take-Two should sue the person that made the mod, or forget that this ever happened.

TranRoxas
TranRoxas

maybe cause gamestop sells the game used for 18 bucks and giving 35 dollars wouldnt be economically feasible. Gamestop does offer 35 for halo 3 on the other hand.

SimuLord
SimuLord

Nice of Take2 to give people $35 for a used game. Lord knows you can't get that for it at Gamestop, and I just checked eBay and you can't get $35 for it there, either.

siiixon
siiixon

i think a solution would be to take away or at least make the option of SETTLEMENT far les appealing, if there is no settlement option then who ever is suing will be most definitely be hold responsible starting the fight, this days people just about COUNT on a settlement and as such there is no RISK suing anyone... i would definitely for a ban on all settlements and "deals" in the justice system, let the courts decide who is right and wrong

Deano
Deano

This is ridiculous the game didn't ship with the content available for access, even if it was in hidden and could be unlocked by a mod the individual actually had to go and get the mod. So how can that person claim they were offended when they specifically sought to unlock it. There also shouldn't be any outraged parents either as GTA 3 shouldn't be played by minors anyway. Just the usual garbage of politicians trying to bury the video game industry claiming it is detrimental to us. I've seen 100 times worse things in movies than any game i've played,

muffin65
muffin65

Lol, Hot Coffee Mod. Funny Name.

boobush
boobush

Man, I don't think anyone is gonna sue them now, when they could some time ago. Do I smell propaganda?

siiixon
siiixon

well that argument unfortunately wont hold watter, as this was not started by the actually user, but the parents/grand-parent of the user still if my parents would do a thing like this they would be sorry that they ever had me !

serbsta69
serbsta69

Thats a pretty stupid reason to sue.

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

The beauty of this country is you can sue anyone for anything no matter how stupid. The worst thing about this country....you can sue anyone for anything no matter how stupid. Seriously. This lawsuit is so frivolous it's laughable. Just another money hungry bastard looking for easy money. If they're so "offended by the ability to mod the game" why did they mod it to begin with? Some people really need a swift kick of common sense.

Boukhari
Boukhari

why does it matter? surely if someone puts the above mod on, they accept the mods implications/content etc... so why do take-two have to refund/exchange for ppl??? i don't get it!?!?!?!

siiixon
siiixon

in my eye anyone who is lying and say that was offended just to get the $35 commits a bigger crime then downloading 35 CD's and DVD's ILLEGALLY, i just wish there would be a lie detector test for every one of those 2 faced bastards who goes for the $35 reward, and if they fail the test they not only don't get the $35 but gets beaten openly with a stick 35 times

ctg867
ctg867

We all know the whole thing is a joke. I'm pretty sure it's not technically within real legal bounds for what happened to Take 2 to happen, but it did anyway. Hopefully they can get it down with as cheap and quickly as possible.

shoeman12
shoeman12

i still don't get what the big deal is. you can't access it unless you purposely try to with mods. how would costumers even see it unless they tried to? you can't access it accidentally. just more suit happy people looking to make a quick buck.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

I would rather have sex over guns any day of the week.

roadrunner1178
roadrunner1178

It is crazy that Take-Two is punished because of hackers illegally tampering with the game. Maybe Take-Two should have told the ESRB that the content was in there but inaccessible, but this is ridiculous. PLAY THE GAME THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE PLAYED! Using cheat codes is one thing. Tampering with the game code is silly (like with Manhunt 2 and Oblivion). It is only running the risk of jeopardizing future titles when stuff like this happens because of low-life hackers. I have not even played these GTA games because they do not interest me, but I am an avid gamer and do not like the idea of a few trying to ruin it for the majority.

RELL1K
RELL1K

What I want to know is where can I buy a copy of San Andreas for the Xbox with the hot coffee content and how to unlock it ; )

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Good! I don't think Take-two or R* should have been responsible anyway. It takes some effort to get the content anyway. I'm glad this will finally come to an end.

elagricola
elagricola

If the game was rated AO I really don't see the point, I mean adults are permited to see sex related content, arent they?. Also to be able to see this you would have to do very especific things...... To me if you do those things you needed to do to see the mod it would be like paying for porn on pay per view and then being ofended by it. None the less I would take the money if still having the game is proof of purchase. I tryed using it for credit, but they would not buy it back cause of the mod at EB Games.

-Ronin-_basic
-Ronin-_basic

Let's practice, shall we? "If you promise that you were offended by the sex minigame, we'll give you $35. Were you offended?" "..... Uh, you bet I was! That 'hot chocolate' thing was totally unacceptable! ....... Can I have my money now?"

dmastor
dmastor

This is stupid america afraid of sex, just like Bubble said everything else ok except sex, We all are here from sex get over it gosh. GEt me mad We have murders everyday I will love if people having too much sex was a problem and not frug,killing, Pimping, stealing wasn't. Also Hot coffee is something you have to put a code in for so the fact people went out there way for it no one should get any money back.

thebubbleprince
thebubbleprince

Can kill people, rob em, Bomb them with the Hydra (Crashing planes into the building if i may add but i never have or will), But cant make virtual love? Go figure!

raverrozza
raverrozza

for gods sake rockstar already get so much stick for their games being controversial and all the court fees must be bad enuf. but to pay money to someone whos bought san andreas and is offended?!?!?! get bent! I love rockstar and even if something in their game did offend me i wouldnt want to damage them because i know one of their next games id love. For feck sake EA offends me all the time with the crap they pump out the gits and i dont see them paying me any money for having to look at their crap boxes in the store

v8nnwilder
v8nnwilder

I agree with most of you guys.... I mean if a little "sex" in a game offends you so much what are you doing with an "AO" or "M" rated title in the first place... And if you can beat the living hell out of anyone in the game... Drive them over ,rob them and even freaking snipe their heads off from a distance it's all good... So violence is acceptable but "making virtual love" isn't? Go figure!

smc_sewer
smc_sewer

Yep it's pretty stupid of people to swear that they were offended by the Hot Coffee glitch, after all they are swearing to it on an legal document. A document that basiclly says they admit to breaching the software user agreement that says that nobody is allowed to modify the software etc etc which you have to do to access the content. And what does that make them? criminals yeahhh baby take them all to court take two they wouldnt have a leg to stand on their signature would be there in black and white.

Gundam_Fan
Gundam_Fan

Dude I'm still trying to find a site to access this minigame XD, since I bought mine on release as well. I think a mature male that is able to drink legally should be able to handle this stuff.

spotlifetv
spotlifetv

Why would anyone be this stupid to even try & claim they were affected by this. This is total bs & I feel sorry for Rockstar. You would have to modify the gameto get it to do any of the so called Hot Coffee crap in the first place. So really you would have had to have info & be a perv to want to see it hence no merit to a lawsuit! Stupid shlt!

bubnux
bubnux

I have the game & receipt (bought on the day it launched) and WILL NOT be asking for a dime. Realistically, I can't imagine the type of person who thinks GTA is alright but is offended by the minigame in question. Just so you know, the 35$ in your pockets will cost us, as gamers, much much more down the line. Don't let temptation corrupt your judgment.

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

they shouldn't take responsibility... yes that code is in the game, but the made it inaccessible unless you ILLEGALLY used modified software/hardware to get to it.

haulinsacs
haulinsacs

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

nemes1s3000
nemes1s3000

It honestly is the dumbest lawsuit ever, they'll lose alot of money over this.

azone12
azone12

dumbest law suit ever

ivanfred
ivanfred

I have the version that can modded to ulock the Hot Coffe mini-game and not once did I ever want to see it. If I want to see naughty exchange, all I have to do is look out the window, since I live in the Godless Bronx.

Mujambo
Mujambo

You could get it on ps2, you just needed some third party equipment similar to a gameshark to access it. I can't understand why you would buy GTA, knowing what it is, plus with an AO or M rating, then complain about the hot coffee thing. How stupid can you be?

DON_DU
DON_DU

i tried to get that hot coffee mod but than i found out it was only on pc

Devvy01
Devvy01

what's the big fuss over, there' alot worse animations in other games out there

Agreb91
Agreb91

I still can't believe this isn't over.

mickwounds
mickwounds

what i find rediculous is that in the game you can kill anybody, steal cars, swear and deal drugs etc etc. None of that is an issue but as soon as a little sex mini game gets unlocked all hell breaks loose. what an absolute joke. Basically these so called "offended" people have no issues with the above content but sex is sooooooooo wrong. "yes i dont mind it if my 12 year old son kills an old lady with a baseball bat but i dont want him playing sex mini games".

DrKill09
DrKill09

They can go ahead and try to stop the Manhunt2 uncensoring, but they can't. Many already have it! :P

ReaperCloud
ReaperCloud

Makes sense...since they are going after ANYONE who posts an uncensored Manhunt 2 video on YouTube. Plus anyone who makes a code for a cheat device (Code Breaker had one made, then removed hours later. Skiller -who is a member on the forum- made a code days earlier to remove the filters and now they are gone as well). I guess they don't want a repeat of what happened with the whole Hot Coffee deal...yet they don't learn from their past mistakes. Perfect. -_-

nazraq
nazraq

it is news you turd. this looks to be the end of a long court battle. one that involves one of the most influential game developers today. so, shut up you mouth breather.

epking
epking

I love GTA SA, and any of you guys who played it and are willing to swear that you are offended by the hot coffee and would not have bought it if you knew about it..... let me know, because I will personally come over to your house and slap you upside your face ;) seriously;..... anyone who likes GTA SA killing and maiming and being a pimp and selling drugs....(all in good fun imo) but anyone who likes that gameplay but somehow is offended by some 640x480p crappy video game nudity..... well it's absolutely PREPOSTEROUS anyone would actually be offended by Hot Coffe and not the rest of the game. I'm dissapointed Rockstar would not let this play out in court, but at least the word it so users have to swear they were offended and swear they wouldn't have bought it if they knew they could download a patch. The only people who would agree to do this are the worst of worst hipocrits and deserve a special delivery PIMP SLAP upside thier head.

wiifan001
wiifan001

So the point of this is to have a Mature rated GTA: San Andreas game and receive $35 for it. This is what you call news?

SaxxyGamer18
SaxxyGamer18

You know how many people are going to just say they were offended to get $35? That's lame.

jaredrichards3
jaredrichards3

we should find out which money grabbing good for nothing customer tried to sue them, and shoot them!! ffs what a total ass!

-HCMF-
-HCMF-

Bought mine first day for the ps2 and xbox. I am not offended, and would still buy it regardless of the coffee. But, I still could use 35 bone, what? With all the great games out this season who doesn't need the scratch...