Tepid Coffee: Take-Two gets foreboding slap on wrist by FTC

Ross Miller
R. Miller|06.08.06

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Tepid Coffee: Take-Two gets foreboding slap on wrist by FTC
Tepid Coffee: Take-Two gets foreboding slap on wrist by FTC
The Federal Trade Commision today handed down its final verdict regarding the "Hot Coffee" controversy. While not fined, the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection director Lydia Parnes stated that the hidden sex game, and publisher Take-Two's subsequent coverup, "undermined the industry's own rating system and deceived consumers," adding that "parents have the right to rely on the accuracy of the entertainment rating system."

The harsh words give the impression that this is the game industry's final warning on the subject of full disclosure to ratings systems -- the FTC ruling did note that all future violations by Take-Two will results in an $11,000 fine per violation (i.e. per game sold). As GameSpot extrapolated, with 7.27 million copies of San Andreas sold in the US, Take Two would have had to pay almost $80 billion dollars.

The Hot Coffee incident involves a sex minigame found in the code of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which could only be found by hacking the title or downloading user-made modifications. Although difficult to find (and play), its inherent inclusion (and Take Two's initial denial) ignited anti-game activists and more than a few opportunistic lawmakers into action.

[Thanks, SickNic]
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