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GTA 'Hot Coffee' Case Settled for $20 Million

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 39 comments

Hot Coffee costed $20 million.

There's no debate that the Grand Theft Auto video game series has always been one surrounded by controversy, but there has been no more questionable time in the franchise's history other than during the "Hot Coffee" incident related to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

In both the PC and PlayStation 2 versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was locked content which contained sexually explicit material. While the content was hidden and not a part of the regular game, it could be exposed by modifying several files – something easily done on the PC version. PlayStation 2 version could also have its "Hot Coffee" content unlocked, but it could only be done so using a, unauthorized third party peripheral.

Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series, faced criticism and lawsuits. The entire saga came to a close yesterday as the company reached an agreement in principle to settle a class action for an aggregate payment of $20,115,000.

$15,200,000 of that sum will be paid by the Take-Two Interactive's insurance carriers, and $4,915,000 will be paid by the company itself.

"We are pleased to have reached this settlement, which represents another important step forward for the Company," said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two.

Now with that out of the way, roll on the Ballad of Gay Tony!

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  • 26 Hide
    Aintry , September 2, 2009 10:47 PM
    Meanwhile, local roads are falling apart.
  • 13 Hide
    papasmurf , September 2, 2009 11:03 PM
    $19,900,000 of that will be paid to the attorney representing the class action suit. 90,000 will cover the cost of administration and organization to hand the cash out. the remaining 10000 dollars will be split among the 1 million people who took part in the class action lawsuit. Their 10 cent reward will come in the form of a gift card redeemable only online at take two interactive.
  • 13 Hide
    Sicundercover , September 3, 2009 12:02 AM
    I dont get how in any logical world, suing Rockstar for locked content has in any way made the world a better place. Once again this is a example of lawyers chasing a paycheck.

    Whats even harder to believe is that we here in the US have allowed lawyers to take over our country. They are in both our legislative branch and our executive branch.

    All the time it took for this case to come to fruition could have been used for some better purpose.
Other Comments
  • -1 Hide
    ubernoobie , September 2, 2009 10:39 PM
    fail rockstar
  • 2 Hide
    Honis , September 2, 2009 10:40 PM
    Didn't they learn anything from Oblivion?
  • 8 Hide
    jsloan , September 2, 2009 10:47 PM
    so they sold 20M units and they are fined $20M which comes to $1/unit sale...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Theft_Auto:_San_Andreas#Sales
  • 26 Hide
    Aintry , September 2, 2009 10:47 PM
    Meanwhile, local roads are falling apart.
  • 7 Hide
    joex444 , September 2, 2009 10:49 PM
    "Costed" is almost certainly the wrong form to be using.

    Notice how much better "Hot coffee cost $20M" sounds. Now, some technical points in English do result in sentences which do not sound correct but are regardless. This is *not* one of those cases -- costed is an archaic word which deals with finding the cost of something.
  • 0 Hide
    grieve , September 2, 2009 10:55 PM
    joex444"Costed" is almost certainly the wrong form to be using. Notice how much better "Hot coffee cost $20M" sounds. Now, some technical points in English do result in sentences which do not sound correct but are regardless. This is *not* one of those cases -- costed is an archaic word which deals with finding the cost of something.

    Im not going to lie... i looked at "costed" for a while as well, It just seems wrong.

    I think it is proper, in this situation the sentence is referring to monies which were previously spent = Costed, not cost.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/costed

    I dunno... Math is my strong subject

  • 0 Hide
    grieve , September 2, 2009 10:59 PM
    Just like i Drunk the beer.
    I spent my Monies.

    Its weird, no one uses it.. but it is correct.
  • 12 Hide
    AdamB5000 , September 2, 2009 11:02 PM
    So $19,000,000 goes to the lawyers. Who gets the rest?
  • 13 Hide
    papasmurf , September 2, 2009 11:03 PM
    $19,900,000 of that will be paid to the attorney representing the class action suit. 90,000 will cover the cost of administration and organization to hand the cash out. the remaining 10000 dollars will be split among the 1 million people who took part in the class action lawsuit. Their 10 cent reward will come in the form of a gift card redeemable only online at take two interactive.
  • 13 Hide
    Sicundercover , September 3, 2009 12:02 AM
    I dont get how in any logical world, suing Rockstar for locked content has in any way made the world a better place. Once again this is a example of lawyers chasing a paycheck.

    Whats even harder to believe is that we here in the US have allowed lawyers to take over our country. They are in both our legislative branch and our executive branch.

    All the time it took for this case to come to fruition could have been used for some better purpose.
  • 4 Hide
    IzzyCraft , September 3, 2009 12:08 AM
    If you mod the game you can get anything in it...wasn't it rated M anyways, probably removed the sexual context the lazy way by locking it from the game just to make sure it doesn't get a rating which will make retailers not carry it like getting the AO rating, if you take apart a machine to get something like a knife to kill a guy it's hardly a thing to fret about the machine company about, you needed 3rd party intervention to get the material you voided the agreement so i find nothing wrong with just locking out the context.
  • 0 Hide
    tmike , September 3, 2009 12:26 AM
    "Costed" is definitely incorrect as used. It is a word, for sure, but it means something entirely different.
    As an aside, "drunk" is also incorrect in the example given above, and "monies" is, at minimum, an awkward choice ("money" is correct there).
  • 12 Hide
    Jerky_san , September 3, 2009 12:40 AM
    You know I noticed a word that kept repeating itself.. "Unauthorized modifications" Sooo I can take a turbo and crank the psi up to 20 and blow the engine sending shards of metal everywhere then sue the car maker because I did something not technically allowed. Or better yet to make this more intune. Can I sue EA because I put nude sims in the sims.
  • 0 Hide
    IzzyCraft , September 3, 2009 1:33 AM
    Yeah it's what i don't get i mean it's not like they put the "explicit content" in there for the purpose of letting people mod their way into access

    probably was part of the game but scraped to get the proper rating of M or w.e
  • 1 Hide
    christop , September 3, 2009 2:05 AM
    This was crap.. The game is intended for mature people.. WHAT THE HELL...
    For the people who jumped on a fast dollar don't bitch when you pay more for games cause you ripp the company that worked their ass off to make a game.. (FOR ADULTS!!!!!!!
  • 2 Hide
    rdawise , September 3, 2009 4:03 AM
    sicundercoverI dont get how in any logical world, suing Rockstar for locked content has in any way made the world a better place. Once again this is a example of lawyers chasing a paycheck. Whats even harder to believe is that we here in the US have allowed lawyers to take over our country. They are in both our legislative branch and our executive branch. All the time it took for this case to come to fruition could have been used for some better purpose.


    I could not argee with you more. I what don't understand is (or maybe their lawyers are too lazy/smart enough to point this out) how is this not a violation to DMCA or DRM. The content was locked away so the only way to access it was to circumvent their protective measures. Doesn't that violate DMCA or DRM? Isn't that what people are being put in jail for? Now, follow me for a second, the only to access the content was to perform an "illegal" action. Shouldn't they company be protected since the way to access is technically illegal. Look at a can of air fresher. On it, it states that it is illegal to use it in a way that is not described on the can. If you use it to get high, you can't sue the company because you used it in an illegal manner. Isn't there a similarity here?

    Disclaimer:
    I do not endorse or approve of DMCA or DRM.
  • 2 Hide
    lazylazyjoe , September 3, 2009 5:08 AM
    It's not the lawyers. It's the laws. The lawyers simply exploit them. We need to TOTALLY rewrite the justice code. The government is not responsible for every little problem. Read the preamble to the constitution, they give a good summary of what government was supposed to do. Stealing/vandalism and violent acts should be the only two prosecutable crimes and there should be no more civil court.
  • 0 Hide
    pakardbell486dx2 , September 3, 2009 6:37 AM
    So what is that money going to be used for? Also who were the people or group that sued? I am confused as to what actually the makers of GTA do wrong? They added some steamy parts and then blocked with some sort of software. So if that is circumvented on the user side why is the maker of the game getting sued? It's like i put a lock on my door and then someone comes and breaks it and enters my home, then some how he injuries himself and then sues me for his injury while he broke into my home. Thats does not make any sense to me.
  • 0 Hide
    backbydemand , September 3, 2009 7:14 AM
    Probably worth double the fine in the amount of free advertising it got. If I thought for one second I would have had the amount of media exposure for a game because of the content I would have had a "hot coffee" mod in every game I ever produced from that point on...
  • 1 Hide
    pocketdrummer , September 3, 2009 8:54 AM
    What douche actually sued for this again? I mean really... Take Two should have sued for modifying game content.

    It'll be in the EULA from now on, I'm sure....
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