Wednesday, July 20, 2005

GTA San Andreas slapped with an AO by ESRB

Take Two and the ESRB announced several hours ago that they have completed the investigation into the "Hot Coffee" sex mini-game mod. The mod was first releasted for the PC version of San Andreas and it was later revealed that the mini-game could be unlocked on the PS2 version using a cheat device.

With this information the ESRB has decreed that the version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that is in stores now must be rerated as an Adults Only title for all platforms. It will be the first Adults Only title ever available on a console. Stores have the option of pulling it from their shelves or affixing an "AO" rating sticker on the box.

Rockstar has been ordered to create a downloadable patch for the PC version of San Andreas that disables the Hot Coffee mod.

Rockstar has also said they will create a new version of the game that will not include the mini-game code so that the Hot Coffee mod will not work. This version will retain the original M rating and be released sometime near the end of the year.

As a result of the new rating, Take Two has lowered their stock forecast for the third quarter to account for the expected decrease in GTA San Andreas sales. Take Two also announced that they may seek legal action against those who created the tools that changed the content of San Andreas.

I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the Hot Coffee brew-ha-ha. More coverage of this story can be found at GameTab.


Chad Haefele said...

I guess I'm not sure how they can sue someone for simply pointing out what Rockstar themselves had left in the game.

My understanding is that none of this content was created by the hackers/patchers - it was just revealed by them. Am I mistaken?

Beth Gallaway said...

It doesn't sound right, that someone made a patch that you could overwrite a playstation CD with... it seems must me plausible that it was something the designers left in the game as joke, and told a few of their buddies, and it spread like wildfire on the Internet. I don't buy that Rockstar had no knowledge - maybe the CEO and huigher ups didn't but I bet the game designers knew.

I'm glad the ESRB gave it a AO rating, it makes them look credible. And I think people will still buy the game, but I bet retailers will feel pressure not to stock it, just like libraries and bookstores won't buy Rainbow Party - even though we buy plenty of other "trashy" books.

John Scalzo said...

Yeah, all of the "Hot Coffee" content was already in the game. The mod just unlocked it.

The PS2 content was unlocked with an Action Replay cheat device.

As for retailers stocking it, I think it's a 50/50 split at this point.

Kelly said...

In some ways, I think librarians (and others)-especially those that have circulating video game collections-can capitalize on this story that is putting video games and the rating system in the forefront by educating others on what this is all about. Anyone with ciruclating collections react toward this ESRB decision?

Anali said...

I guess one can expect a company called "Rockstar" to have an exaggerated opinion of themselves. This whole hoopla is entirely their own fault - the content was already in the game, and it was leaked somehow to inspire someone to make the mod. What makes me cranked is that it's exactly this sort of thing that makes parents leery of video games and ruins the reputation of gamers!