'Hot Coffee' Incident Now Lukewarm

Last year, the term “hot coffee” took on an entirely different meaning with the release of Rockstar,s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. A portion of the PC game, which could only be unlocked by an unauthorized mod, produced a mini-game in which the characters engaged in sexual activity. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received complaints about the content of the game. Rockstar,s rating of “M,” was quickly relabeled to “AO” for adults only, but the quick fix was too late to prevent millions of copies from reaching underaged gamers.

Today, the FTC ruled that Rockstar and Take Two Interactive “guilty” because they, “…did not tell consumers that the game discs contained potentially viewable nude female characters and a potentially playable sex mini-game. Although San Andreas players could not access or view this sexual content during normal game play, sophisticated players posted a program on the Internet, dubbed ‘Hot Coffee,, that revealed this content on the PC version of the game. PlayStation 2 and Xbox players eventually were able to access the Hot Coffee content by modifying or adding an accessory to their game consoles, installing special software, and inputting “cheat codes” developed by third parties. These developments led to a more restrictive rating by the ESRB."

Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC,s Bureau of Consumer Protection stated, “Parents have the right to rely on the accuracy of the entertainment rating system. 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.”

While no monetary fines were leveled against Rockstar and Take Two for the hot coffee incident, the ruling is a stern warning for the game companies.

Paul Eibeler, CEO of Take Two, had this to say about the ruling, "We recognize 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."

In the settlement, Take Two will agree to “establish, implement, and maintain a comprehensive system reasonably designed to ensure that all content in an electronic game is considered and reviewed in preparing submissions to a rating authority." If there are any future violations of this agreement, Take Two and Rockstar would be fined $11,000 for the violation.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.