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Rockstar sued over Hot Coffee

By LA city attorney's office.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The city attorney's office of Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit against Rockstar Games and parent company Take-Two Interactive over the controversial Hot Coffee mod in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The lawsuit, which is apparently part of an ongoing investigation into the marketing of videogames, was introduced by attorney Rocky Delgadillo. He claims that Rockstar and Take-Two deliberately misled the Entertainment Software Ratings Board by not disclosing the hidden content, stating that the firms "engaged in unfair business practices by hiding pornographic material in a game which received an M rating."

The Hot Coffee mod allowed gamers to access a hidden mini-game in Rockstar's GTA: San Andreas, and view scenes of a sexual nature which would have been deemed inappropriate for the Mature rating that the game initially received. Rockstar initially maintained that the game was the solely the result of a third party modification, until the ESRB traced the same hidden code in all formats of the game and changed the game's rating to Adults Only.

Delgadillo's lawsuit acknowledges the fact that the content can only be accessed using a fan modification or console cheat-code system, but insists that Rockstar marketed the game "in a fashion that encourages the creation and use of mods." The attorney is seeking a combined fine for the two firms of $5000, that the firms relinquish all profits gained from sales of the title in California, and that Take-Two cover all court costs and associated charges as a result of the city office filing the lawsuit.

"Businesses have an obligation to truthfully disclose the content of their products - whether in the food we eat or the entertainment we consume," Delgadillo told the Associated Press.

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