Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

House backs federal investigation of Rockstar Games

Filed under

Just when you thought the Hot Coffee scandal couldn't get any hotter, the heat is getting turned way up--by the federal government, no less.

Just after 7:00pm on Capitol Hill today, the House of Representatives voted 355 to 21 to support a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The purpose of the probe will be to determine if Take-Two Interactive and its publishing subsidiary Rockstar Games deceived the voluntary Entertainment Software Ratings Board when it submitted Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Today's vote advanced House Resolution 376, introduced by Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI). In Upton's words, he is "leading the congressional effort to determine if a best-selling video game maker intentionally deceived the industry's ratings board to avoid an 'Adults-Only' rating."

In a statement, Upton recently said he was "outraged by the brazenness of Rockstar Games in their effort to do an end-run around the ratings system... Rockstar Games' deceit has severely undermined the integrity of the ratings system."

The game initially received a rating of M for Mature but has since been slapped with a rating of AO for Adults Only, becoming one of only a handful of games to bear the retailer-scorned label. Rockstar is in the process of manufacturing new game discs that have the hidden sex minigame removed. Those versions of the game will be rated M.

The vote, coming on the eve of a five-week recess in Congress, means that Rockstar could now come under scrutiny by the federal government. It also raises the possibility that there could be a penalty imposed if an investigation finds that the publisher committed fraud in obtaining the M rating for San Andreas.

[UPDATE] According to attorney Jack Thompson, an outspoken critic of Rockstar Games, the resolution does not have the binding effect of law; it simply expresses the overwhelming sentiment of the House of Representatives that the Federal Trade Commission should investigate the matter fully.

As for where the House resolution might lead, Thompson told GameSpot that from his perspective, additional action inside the beltway was likely: "I have spoken with leaders on the Hill on all this, and you can look for Congressional hearings on this in the fall."

GameSpot will have more details on the investigation as further information is made available.

By Curt Feldman -- GameSpot.


You might have noticed I continue to link to coverage of this "sex scandal" while most folks are bored of hearing of it. But it's just so ridiculous it pisses me off. Oh, it was okay to promote and sell to teenagers as long as it only exemplified drug running, carjacking, police evasion and slaughter, blowing up buildings, running down pedestrians, murder, carnage, gambling and overall general mayhem.

But oh my gawd, since there's a "love" scene (not even accessible except by cheat code), let's make em change the rating, cause stores to pull from shelves, stocks plummet, and now let the government investigate them out of business.

Is it just me, or does something seem wrong here? I'm kinda pissed at the pure stupidity not only of Sen. Clinton (whom I personally blame - just a publicity stunt in hopes of re-election) and our government - which never surprise me at their pure ignorance - but of the citizens and lobby groups pushing for this. Oh, noooow the parents are worried! It's just ridiculous!!!

You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Sex vs Death and Destruction

I'm an old hippie at heart.

Make Love, not War is what I say!

Now Being Sued

The Associated Press has pumped out an article detailing a lawsuit filed by an 85 year old grand-mother who didn't know it had hidden sexual scenes when she bought it. She said the other anti-social behaviors were okay for her 14 year old grandson to adapt, but she couldn't have him learning how to pick up and make it with women.

Naw, just kidding, it didn't say that ...exactly...

Here it is:

A woman upset that she bought the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" for her 14-year-old grandson without knowing it contained hidden, sexually explicit scenes sued the manufacturer Wednesday on behalf of consumers nationwide.

Florence Cohen, 85, of New York, said in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the game's manufacturer, Rockstar Games, and its parent company, New York-based Take Two Interactive Software Inc., engaged in false, misleading and deceptive practices.

She sought unspecified damages on behalf of herself and all consumers nationwide, saying the company should give up its profits from the game for what amounted to false advertising, consumer deception and unfair business practices.

Cohen said in the suit that she bought the game in late 2004 for her grandson when it was rated "M" for mature, for players 17 and older. According to the suit, she directed that it be taken away from her grandson, which was done.

The game was released in October with an "M" rating. After a storm of negative publicity about the hidden scenes, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, an industry group responsible for rating games, changed the rating to "AO" for adults only.

Laurence D. Paskowitz, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Cohen, said no parent would knowingly buy an adult-only video game for their children.

"They should really make sure this doesn't happen again," he said. "The least this company can do is offer refunds."

Hidden areas in video games that can be unlocked with special codes or modifications are not uncommon.

Take Two Interactive initially said the scenes were not part of the retail version of the game but later admitted they were.

A message left for a company spokesman was not immediately returned. On Tuesday, Take-Two announced that it had been notified by the Federal Trade Commission's Division of Advertising Practices that it was conducting an inquiry into the game's advertising claims.

The company said it planned to cooperate fully with the probe.
"Rockstar Games and Take Two Interactive regret that consumers may have been exposed to content that was not intended to be accessible in the playable version of `Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas'," it said in a statement.

The company said it had halted production of the game in the controversial form and was working on a version of the game without the hidden sexual content.

"Going forward, the company will refine the process by which it edits games and will enhance the protection of its game code to prevent such future modifications," it said.

Earlier this week, the House voted 355-21 for a resolution asking the FTC to investigate the company. Last week, Sen. Clinton , D-N.Y., asked the FTC to investigate Rockstar, saying the company had "gamed the ratings system" by concealing sex scenes in the game that can be unlocked by computer programs available on the Internet.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., Best Buy Co. and Circuit City Stores Inc. have pulled the game - last year's top-seller among console games - from their shelves following the rating change.

You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines Website Says Microsoft's Software Is Malware has a category on its website named “Philosophy of the GNU Project,” where the Microsoft software is described as malware, along with Apple and Amazon. Read more

Ubuntu Touch Devs Might Release an OTA-8.5 Hotfix Update for Ubuntu Phones

Earlier today, November 25, Canonical's Łukasz Zemczak sent his daily report for the day of November 24, 2015, informing all Ubuntu Phone users about the latest work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers on the Ubuntu for phones operating system. Read more

Systemd — unit dependencies and order

Welcome back to our continuing series on systemd features. As you’ve guessed from our previous articles, systemd brings more power and flexibility to service startup and management. One of the most important changes in systemd from legacy SysVinit is how it starts up units. You may have heard from casual users that systemd starts everything together. Some people believe this is true, and that’s why the system starts faster. But the reality is not quite that simple. Let’s look a little more deeply at how systemd understands unit relationships. Read more

today's leftovers

  • AWS launches EC2 Dedicated Hosts so you can bring your own Linux licence
    AMAZON WEB SERVICES (AWS) has announced the arrival of a new service called EC2 Dedicated Hosts. The new feature will allow companies to run the software they pay for on multiple virtual machines using a single server, giving more granular management to finding what applications are working on what virtual machine. AWS has outlined the advantages of EC2 Dedicated Hosts in a blog post by evangelist Jeff Barr.
  • Unikernels, meet Docker!
    The demo described here is just the beginning. There are many implementations of unikernels and there’s plenty of work ahead to ensure they can all reap the benefits of integration, as well as improving Docker itself to make the most of these new technologies. Look over the collection of unikernel projects and contribute your experiences to this blog!
  • AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition Is A Letdown On Linux
    While leaked slides indicate AMD was planning better gaming on Linux for Crimson, in the end they really didn't deliver. Even for their mentioned games, when testing various Linux OpenGL games on three different systems the performance was largely unchanged.
  • New HPCG Benchmark List Goes Beyond LINPACK to Compare Supercomputers
    The High Performance Conjugate Gradients (HPCG) Benchmark list was announced this week at SC15. This is the fourth list produced for the emerging benchmark designed to complement the traditional High Performance LINPACK (HPL) benchmark used as the official metric for ranking the TOP500 systems. The first HPCG list was announced at ISC’14 a year and a half ago, containing only 15 entries and the SC’14 list had 25. The current list contains more than 60 entries as HPCG continues to gain traction in the HPC community.
  • New Opera 34 Beta Is Based on Chromium 47.0.2526.58, Brings Linux and Mac Fixes
    Opera Software, through Aneta Reluga, has announced the release and immediate availability for download and testing of a new Beta build for the upcoming Opera 34.0 web browser for all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.
  • Hamster rediscovered
    If you like to track your time in a fine granular way, consider to use project-hamster with the GNOME Shell extension.
  • Distro hopping: feeling good with my time on LXLE
    Well the time has come to officially switch off from LXLE. This time around however I find myself in a weird spot. I’ve honestly struggled with LXLE; not in using the distribution itself but rather coming up with things to write about it. That isn’t to say that LXLE is bad by any stretch of the imagination, in fact it is quite good, it’s just that once you get used to the light weight desktop environment (DE) there is a perfectly capable “heavy weight” distribution underneath. What I mean by this is that once you get used to the DE and it fades into the background you’re left with a perfectly functional distribution that could just as easily have been Ubuntu or Linux Mint or Fedora or {insert your favourite one here}.
  • Netrunner 17 'Horizon' is here -- download the Kubuntu-based Linux distro now
    About a week ago, the Netrunner team released an update to its rolling release operating system. Based on Arch/Manjaro, I advised Linux beginners to steer clear, and instead opt for the Kubuntu-based variant. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, the Ubuntu community is arguably friendlier and better for newbies -- there are a ton of instructions and .deb files available too. More importantly, however, the rolling release could be less stable overall.
  • Netrunner 17 Screenshot Tour
  • KNOPPIX 7.6.0 Screenshot Tour
  • Tumbleweed install for November
    For this month, I installed Tumbleweed on my laptop. I had installed Leap 42.1 to overwrite my previous Tumbleweed install on that laptop. This computer uses legacy booting. I gave Tumbleweed a 40G partition, which I formatted as “ext4”. I also allowed it to use the swap and home file systems from my encrypted LVM on that computer.
  • Python 3 Porting FAD: Lessons Learned
  • Fossetcon 2015 Orlando Florida – Lake Buena Vista Hilton 19 – 21 November 2015
  • Reproducible builds: week 30 in Stretch cycle