The Federal Trade Commission has officially ended its investigation into the sexually explicit ‘Hot Coffee’ mini-game hidden within Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
The FTC charged that both Take-Two and Rockstar violated regulations by failing to inform consumers that San Andreas discs contained explicit content – content which could only be unlocked with a mod, and which had not been submitted to the ESRB for rating.
Now the two companies have reached a settlement with FTC which requires them 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.”
“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.”
The FTC ruling comes after a period of 30 days during which the public had the right to contest the decision, but since nobody said anything the decision is final and the publisher will not receive any fines.
If Take-Two and Rockstar fail to meet the FTC’s requirements in future, they will face fines of up to USD 11,000 per incident. However, they appear to have escaped without financial penalty on this occasion.
Not that the case is closed, GTA and Take2 can move forward.