Hot Coffee Finally History? Take-Two Pays $20 Million To Investors

from the hot-coffee-is-now-cold dept

I have to admit that I never quite understood the complaints about the “Hot Coffee” mod in Grand Theft Auto. First, it involved proactively modifying the software to unlock certain levels — and those levels included scenes of consensual sex. Remember, this is a game that purposely is based on stealing cars, killing people, drug dealing and other sorts of illegal activity… and suddenly people got upset because of a hidden level that included a bit of consensual sex? Yet, lawsuits came flying from all directions. The company eventually tried to settle a class action lawsuit from users — though most members of that “class” didn’t even bother to make a claim, and the court eventually realized that the whole lawsuit was filed incorrectly, and ended up busting up the settlement.

But that wasn’t the only lawsuit. Another lawsuit involved shareholders, who claimed that the company was trying to mislead shareholders about Hot Coffee. A judge dismissed that claim, but apparently the shareholders kept suing, and the new management at Take-Two decided it would be best to just settle the lawsuit, fork over $20 million (much of it paid for by insurance) and just be done with the whole thing. In some ways, this is really too bad. It’s difficult to see how having an easter egg in a bit of software could possibly be seen as being misleading to shareholders, and this settlement will only encourage other similar lawsuits.

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Comments on “Hot Coffee Finally History? Take-Two Pays $20 Million To Investors”

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Ilfar says:

Going from memory

From memory, there is something to that misleading bit. They said a couple of things before they clarified it was existing code being ‘activated’. To the not-so-geeky, that apparently looked like an attempt at a cover-up followed by eventual admission of guilt.

At least it was shareholders getting money rather than that stupid class action thing. Seems a bit stupid to pull money out of a business you’ve invested in, but whatever works I guess…

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Going from memory

“They said a couple of things before they clarified it was existing code being ‘activated’.”

On the PS2 version there were roomers of a Action Replay code that could unlock the addon and possibly break your save. The Xbox version required a mod chip. Ether way it required prier knowledge of the content and the equipment and know-how to use it.

To join the class action lawsuit one only needed to have purchased the game (before or after the controversy), pretend that you didn’t care about the cop killing, drug dealing, car stealing, prostitute paying, and have no prier knowledge of the required mini-game in God of War.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Going from memory

When the controversy broke, the official line was the code was a mod, not included in the original game. It then came out that it was remnant code (perhaps an Easter egg that was never implemented) that only could be accessed by heavy modification. The PC version was the only one that could be access by someone without hardware modification, and even that required some know-how.

This game was already rated Mature, which is for 17 and older. The Hot Coffee mod did not show genitalia; it was similar to the sex scene in Team America. I remember there were idiot moms saying, “my child was exposed to sex!” First, your “child” shouldn’t have been playing a Mature rated game anyway. Second, you should be impressed at his hacker skills.

This was the most retarded “controversy” I’ve ever seen in video games.

Ilfar says:

Re: Re: Going from memory

That’d be what I was trying to remember, thankyou for that. 🙂

Personally I think anyone saying “My child was exposed to sex!” should have gotten a visit from Child, Youth and Family Services (or whatever the local equivalent is) to ask why a child was being given access to Mature rated content. But the parent is never to blame these days…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Blatantly obvious man deserves a cookie.

I’ve said this to people before and I’ll say it again – if you’re so bothered about the level of reporting on this site, why are you here? If professional journalism is something you’re concerned about, why are you commenting on an opinion blog?

It makes no sense. It’s like complaining to a podcast because they don’t hold themselves to specific standards set by professional radio outfits – well, duh.

Hardik Upadhyay (profile) says:

One more high cost settlement

I have seen this whole issue at the bird eye but i was not expecting this kind of settlement.

I may be wrong in this concept but things change by time. This was supposed to be a big issue and now its been settled of easily.

Money is not the issue. Term settlement and not repeating the mistakes should be ensured.

For more info follow me on twitter :

nelsoncruz (profile) says:


“this is a game that purposely is based on stealing cars, killing people, drug dealing and other sorts of illegal activity… and suddenly people got upset because of a hidden level that included a bit of consensual sex?”

Exactly! I have been saying that all this time. Probably the ONLY thing in that game that didn’t involve hurting anyone (quite the opposite, the goal was to pleasure your girlfriend), was the part that generated a scandal!

So, you can kill people, kill policemen, have sex for money AND kill the hocker after if you want your money back… that’s fine! No problem. But a mini-game whose goal is to pleasure your girlfriend… now that’s to far!

A 17+ rating was enough for the violence in the US, unlike the rest of the world, but for consensual sex… Oh no! Don’t you dare play that a single day before your 18th birthday!

Now, that really sent a GREAT message to the kids. You can have sex with hookers and shoot them in the face right after, but don’t you dare give your girlfriend an orgasm!

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