FTC rules on Hot Coffee

Take-Two gets wristslapped.

Following a slap on the wrist from the Federal Trade Commission over the hidden Hot Coffee content in GTA: San Andreas, Take-Two and Rockstar have said they're very sorry and promised never to do it again.

The Hot Coffee mod, you may recall, allowed players to access a filthy mini-game where you could see all the lady's bits and everything. Take-Two was forced to remove San Andreas from shelves following its discovery, so the game could be given an Adults Only rating - a move which apparently cost them more than $24 million.

The FTC was jolly cross about the whole thing, claiming that naughty Take-Two should have submitted the content to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board for review.

But now everyone's made friends again after Take-Two agreed to set up a new system designed to ensure that all game content "is considered and reviewed in preparing submissions to a rating authority" in future.

They've also promised to "clearly disclose" any naughty bits relevant to each game's ratings on the packaging, unless the ratings people have had plenty of opportunity to give it a look over first.

"Parents have the right to rely on the accuracy of the entertainment rating system," said Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

"We allege that Take-Two and Rockstar’s actions undermined the industry’s own rating system and deceived consumers. This is a matter of serious concern to the Commission, and if they violate this order, they can be heavily fined."

Indeed, if Take-Two and Rockstar fail to meet their promises, they'll face fines of up to $11,000 for each time they're out of order. Plus at least 10 minutes on the naughty step.

Take-Two CEO Paul Eibeler commented: "As you can imagine, we are pleased that the FTC has concluded its very thorough investigation, and that the matter has been resolved," not adding "And that they haven't made us give back all our pocket money," but probably thinking it.

"We recognise the importance of the FTC investigation, and the necessity of maintaining public confidence in the ESRB rating system, and helping the ESRB educate parents and consumers about the rating system. We look forward to putting this behind us."

It's not all fun in the sun for Take-Two though - they've just published their second quarter financial report which reveals a net loss of $50.4 million, up from $8.2 million last year. More than half of that was due to the cost of asset write-offs and studio closures as cost-cutting plans get underway, it says here.

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