(July 20th, 2005)
(NEW YORK) - The Entertainment Software Rating Board
(ESRB) today announced the findings of its investigation into the "Hot
Coffee" modification for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and its
immediate revocation of the game's M (Mature 17+) rating. The game's
publisher, Rockstar Games, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software,
Inc., will immediately advise retailers to cease all sales of the game
until corrective actions, as mandated by the ESRB, can be taken.
"After a thorough investigation, we have concluded
that sexually explicit material exists in a fully rendered, unmodified
form on the final discs of all three platform versions of the game (i.e.,
PC CD-ROM, Xbox and PS2)," said Patricia Vance, president of the
ESRB. "However, the material was programmed by Rockstar to be inaccessible
to the player and they have stated that it was never intended to be
made accessible. The material can only be accessed by downloading a
software patch, created by an independent third party without Rockstar's
permission, which is now freely available on the internet and through
console accessories. Considering the existence of the undisclosed and
highly pertinent content on the final discs, compounded by the broad
distribution of the third party modification, the credibility and utility
of the initial ESRB rating has been seriously undermined."
In addition to directing retailers to cease all sales
of the game, Rockstar has agreed to take the following ESRB-mandated
Offer retailers the option of either re-stickering existing inventory
with an AO (Adults Only 18+) rating or exchanging all unsold inventory
for new versions of the game that has the hidden content removed and
the original M rating intact.
Make a downloadable patch available to all consumers who have previously
purchased the PC version of the game, which will make the modification
that unlocks the material inoperable.
Going forward, the ESRB will now require all game publishers to submit
any pertinent content shipped in final product even if is not intended
to ever be accessed during game play or remove it from the final disc.
Furthermore, the ESRB calls on the computer and video game industry
to proactively protect their games from illegal modifications by third
parties, particularly when they serve to undermine the accuracy of the
"The integrity of the ESRB rating system rests upon its accuracy
and reliability and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to
protect the public's trust in it. Independent research confirms that
the overwhelming majority of consumers find ESRB ratings to be an effective
tool to help make informed purchase decisions," continued Ms. Vance.
"We encourage every parent to always check the ratings before bringing
games home for their families and to actively monitor what their children