Take 2 Facing Another Major Lawsuit

Beleaguered GTA publisher burnt by Hot Coffee. Again.

Posted by Staff
Take-Two’s stocks fell 13.7% to $US14.69 on the Nasdaq over the weekend - a level not seen since 2003 - after an analyst downgraded its shares to "sell" from "neutral", citing a variety of financial, operational and management risks, the main one being the recurrent Hot Coffee scandal – the embedding of hidden sex scenes in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - which returned to bite the publisher on its proverbial ass yet again late last week.

Los Angeles Attorney Rocky Delgadillo - a man with a name worthy of a character in the game - claims GTA: San Andreas, along with the sexually explicit mini-game, should have been marketed as an ‘Adults Only 18+’ title, as opposed to a mature rating. "Sexual acts are visually depicted and the player can direct the game's principal character in acts of oral copulation and intercourse," the suit says.

The discovery of the sexually explicit embedded scenes led to the game being re-rated by the industry to Adults Only in July 2005. The key point to the current lawsuit is that many video game retailers that sell Mature rated titles, but do not sell Adults Only 18+ rated games, then took it from their shelves.

Delgadillo's suit requests civil penalties against Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive Software, for allegedly violating California’s Business and Professions Code.

Mr Delgadillo said the company further deceived consumers by first claiming that hackers had modified the original version of the games, then announced a week later that the sex scenes were written into the original game code.

The lawsuit demands that Take-Two and Rockstar Games stop marketing games to children, pay fines and return $US10 million in profits.

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Comments

Funky 30 Jan 2006 13:17
1/4
When was the game marketed at children? It came out here with an 18 rating, last time I checked, 18=adult, not child.

The adverts ran on TV after the 9pm watershed so that's again targeted at adults.

Also the code was imbedded in the game, sure, but the player can only access it with a cheat device that alters the normal run of play and going through a complex procedure in the game - something the publisher and developer isn't responsible for.

These lawyers need to shut up and stop trying to make a name for themselves.
TwoADay 30 Jan 2006 14:22
2/4
Funky wrote:
When was the game marketed at children? It came out here with an 18 rating, last time I checked, 18=adult, not child.

The adverts ran on TV after the 9pm watershed so that's again targeted at adults.

Also the code was imbedded in the game, sure, but the player can only access it with a cheat device that alters the normal run of play and going through a complex procedure in the game - something the publisher and developer isn't responsible for.

These lawyers need to shut up and stop trying to make a name for themselves.



Just for clarification, I see GTA ads at all times of the day here in the 'states.

Rockstar isn't so stupid that they don't know people will use cheat devices. I'm willing to wager they "inadvertently" allowed people to hack newer PSP firmware using their game. They know what they're doing, and this time it bit them in the ass.

I think the lawsuit is silly, but come on people. Stop trying to defend the company that has seriously screwed things up for lots of other makers. They knew about the minigame, and should have known that if it's still on the disc, people with cheat devices will find it.
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thane_jaw 30 Jan 2006 16:19
3/4
Funky wrote:
When was the game marketed at children? It came out here with an 18 rating, last time I checked, 18=adult, not child.




The game was rated completely differently in the states and thus (I assume) marketed differently. Our 18 is equivilent to their adults only (AO, only for 18+), GTA San Andreas was rated at Mature (17+, I believe this classification tricks parents. Is there really that much of a difference between 17 and 18 to warrant a seperate rating?).

Whilst this difference may seem negligible, politiking in the states means that AO games are rarely stocked (I'm pretty sure walmart doesn't, sweeping generalisation I know) in big chain stores, driving sales down. Its a big deal to hit that mature rating and achieve those extra sales.

Link to esrb ratings

You also have to realise that our ratings system is handled by the British Board for the Classifications of Films . Basically our ratings are enforcable by law and other situations (e.g. advertising) are accountable underneath that law (e.g. trailers for films are sometimes rated lower (p.g.) then the film (12) if its being shown during a p.g. movies. The situation in the U.S. is that its there is a voluntary (ESRB) organisation which rates games. There is no central federal law and although many states are attempting to pass laws restricting or classifying video games they're normally pretty poorly written, no real clear guidelines are given and they're basic political stunts.

vault 13 31 Jan 2006 01:38
4/4
Lots of games, actually probably 85% of all videogames have content on them that the developer never uses. Deadlines, hardware and software limitations, time constraints, and unfinished ideas are all the reasons why this kind of content is not implemented. One can only guess why a developer. let alone Rockstar and Take 2, have left this content on the disc. Maybe they forgot about it, maybe they left it there on purpose. Who knows. But as we all know, with a gameshark and some time, anything is accessible. So maybe they didn't realize, or the less naïve idea is that they left it to be uncovered and create a kind of good publicity. But now all they're getting is more in the hole. I'm sure the next GTA will come much quicker now so they can be in the black again. Yay!
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