Future infractions could result in $11,000 per violation
You couldn't log onto the Internet last summer without hearing about Hot Coffee, the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mod that unlocked hidden sexual art and mini-games Rockstar apparently abandoned during the game's development. With a little user hacking, though, they became completely playable -- and everyone started freaking out.
The moment politicians caught wind, an avalanche of controversy came crashing down on Rockstar Games and its parent Take-Two Interactive, resulting in San Andreas being pulled from shelves and slapped with an Adults Only rating. Many wondered how far the rabbit holes at the company went, however, eventually resulting in a Senate-prompted investigation into the companies by the Federal Trade Commission.
Today the FTC released the results of their investigation into allegations the companies were deceptive about San Andreas' content, and the matter has been settled. The report concludes Rockstar and Take-Two did not inform consumers about the hidden material while advertising the game, but instead of being slapped with endless fines, an agreement was reached with the FTC.
The agreement includes "clearly and prominently" disclosing information related to content relevant to the rating if such content has not been disclosed during the ratings process. At the same time, however, the company "cannot misrepresent the rating or content descriptors" and must design and implement an internal system to screen game-related materials fully before submitted to a ratings authority like the ESRB. Upon finalization of the terms, the companies can then be fined $11,000 per violation.
Rockstar Games wasn't available for immediate comment on the report.
For now, the matter appears over and done with, as the FTC voted 5-0 to accept the proposed agreement between the organization and Rockstar and Take-Two. The agreement is currently subject to public comment through July 10th, and soon after there will be a meeting deciding whether to make the agreement final.