Hot Coffee Game Pokes Fun at ‘Hot Coffee’ Mod

May 7, 2012 -

Described by its creator as is kind of a 'sex game' that features no sex," Hot Coffee plays with the phrase synonymous with the infamous secret sexual gameplay hidden in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (thanks Polygon). While there's no actual sex in the game there's enough innuendo in it to turn a modest man or woman beet red.

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David Kushner on His New Book, 'Jacked: The Outlaw story of Grand Theft Auto'

April 17, 2012 -

CNET has an interesting interview with games journalist David Kushner who talks about his latest book, Jacked: The Outlaw story of Grand Theft Auto. The book takes a deeper look at the Grand Theft Auto phenomenon, and delves into related topics such as the game's development, the ESRB, Hot Coffee and Jack Thompson, amongst other topics.

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Yee: Supreme Court Will "Provide Direction" for Future Game Laws

October 29, 2010 -

In an interview with GameSpot, Leland Yee, the California Senator who penned the state’s violent game law, expresses hope that the Supreme Court will uphold the law after hearing oral arguments next week.  But if it doesn’t…

“At the very least, I believe that the Supreme Court is going to provide some direction to legislators who are interested in limiting the sale of violent video games to children. That's because this law has been struck down twice already--there was an injunction on it which we appealed and lost. Then we went to the federal appeals court and we lost again. So I am hoping the Supreme Court will look at this issue and at least provide some guidance as to what might be possible within the framework of the law.”

Yee also discusses his lack of faith in the ESRB.

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Dr. Olson Brings Some Reasoning to RapeLay Hysteria

April 1, 2010 -

Grand Theft Childhood co-author Dr. Cheryl Olson appeared yesterday on CNN Prime News in order to bring a little grounding to the network’s coverage of the game RapeLay.

Anchor Mike Galanos introduces the piece with a dire tone, saying, “Parents, we’ve got to warn you about this videogame, because your kids could get their hands on it,” before bringing in Dr. Olson. Galanos asks Olson about how easy it would be for a kid to download the game.

In answering, Olson puts some of the onus on CNN for their sensationalistic coverage of RapeLay, “One of my concerns is that kids generally never hear about this stuff unless it gets this kind of publicity.”

Olson mentions the Grand Theft Auto “Hot Coffee” mod, which went under the radar until politicians and the media drew attention to it.

Galanos then turns to violent games in general, asking, “What does this do to our kids?” Olson responded:

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Reheating Hot Coffee: Take-Two Reaches $20M Settlement with Investors

September 2, 2009 -

Take-Two Interactive announced yesterday that it has reached a $20 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed over the 2005 Hot Coffee scandal.

Although T2's press release is regrettably light on details, securities are mentioned, indicating that  this case is related to loss of equity value caused by Hot Coffee and its fallout.

Venture Beat has dug up a link to the complaint, Feninger vs. Take-Two. Kotaku offers an explanation of the details:

The nut of the allegations contained in the 34-page suit, is that Take-Two was spending more than it was bringing in and couldn't survive until the next Grand Theft Auto. So, the suit alleges, the company pushed Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas out the door knowing that there was pornographic material in the game because delays would have cost the company too much. If the material was known to be in the, the suit continues, major retailers wouldn't have sold it.

The outcome, according to the suit, was inflated stock prices based on bad or uninformed information from the company and a plunge in stock values when the truth came out.

The suit also alleges that Take-Two lied about the included sex scenes, nicknamed Hot Coffee, when they first came to light, with the company the scenes were "the work of a determined group of hackers who have gone to significant trouble to alter scenes.'"

GP: We should point out that, as the record shows, the notion that Take-Two lied about the origin of the Hot Coffee scenes is a fact, not merely an allegation. In one the sleaziest moves ever seen in the game biz, Take-Two tried to pin the rap for the hidden sex scenes on its biggest fans, the GTA mod community. To be fair, there was a different management team in place back then.

27 comments

SouthPeak Proud to Have Former "Worst CEO of Year" Join Its Board of Directors

August 4, 2009 -

Video game publisher SouthPeak Interactive announced late yesterday that former Take-Two CEO Paul Eibeler (left) is joining its board of directors.

Judging from the language of its press release, SouthPeak appears to regard the addition of Eibeler, named Worst CEO of 2005 by MarketWatch, as good news:

“As one of the most respected executives in the interactive games industry, we welcome Paul to the Board of Directors,” said Terry Phillips, Chairman of SouthPeak. “His depth of experience will certainly be an asset to SouthPeak growth as a major publisher.”

Paul Eibeler is best known for his leadership at Take-Two Interactive...

Eibeler is indeed best known for his days at Take-Two. It was under his watch that the Hot Coffee scandal rocked the video game industry, with the Grand Theft Auto publisher inexcusably blaming the now well-known sex scenes on the GTA mod community before ultimately 'fessing up that it was original content.

Eibeler's reign was also plagued by securities investigations which led to charges against several past employees (although not against Eibeler). The former CEO was ousted by a 2007 shareholder revolt led by current T2 chairman Strauss Zelnick. Eibeler exited with a $2.5 million golden parachute.

5 comments

Fun Facts From EA's Annual Report

May 22, 2009 -

The annual report of game publishing giant Electronic Arts landed in GP's inbox this morning. Typically, reading through these things is a surefire remedy for insomnia, but EA's contains a few tidbits worth mentioning.

1.) EA's failed bid to gobble up Take-Two cost the company $21 million:

As a result of the terminated discussions [with T2], we recognized $21 million in related costs consisting of legal, banking and other consulting fees...

2.) EA uses DRM (you knew that) and is watching for piracy online:

We typically distribute our PC products using copy protection technology, digital rights management technology or other technological protection measures to prevent piracy... We are actively engaged in enforcement and other activities to protect against unauthorized copying and piracy, including monitoring online channels for distribution of pirated copies, and participating in various industry-wide enforcement initiatives, education programs and legislative activity around the world.

3.) Only 3% of EA employees are unionized, and they all work for DICE:

As of March 31, 2009, we had approximately 9,100 regular, full-time employees, of whom over 5,100 were outside the United States... Approximately 3 percent of our employees, all of whom work for DICE, our Swedish development studio, are represented by a union, guild or other collective bargaining organization.

4.) GameStop and Wal-Mart are EA's biggest customers; each accounts for 14% of EA sales:

Worldwide, we had direct sales to two customers, GameStop Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which each represented approximately 14 percent of total net revenue for the fiscal year... the concentration of our sales in one, or a few, large customers could lead to a short-term disruption in our sales if one or more of these customers significantly reduced their purchases or ceased to carry our products...

5.) EA worries about game content legislation and its potential effect on sales:

Legislation is continually being introduced in the United States... for the establishment of government mandated rating requirements or restrictions on distribution of entertainment software based on content... Other countries have adopted or are considering laws regulating or mandating ratings requirements...  Adoption of government ratings system or restrictions... could harm our business by limiting the products we are able to offer to our customers...

6.) EA worries about falling victim to a Hot Coffee incident but has taken steps to prevent it from happening:

If one or more of our titles were found to contain hidden, objectionable content, our business could suffer... Retailers have on occasion reacted to the discovery of such hidden content by removing these games from their shelves, refusing to sell them, and demanding that their publishers accept them as product returns.

We have implemented preventative measures designed to reduce the possibility of hidden, objectionable content from appearing in the video games we publish. Nonetheless, these preventative measures are subject to human error, circumvention, overriding, and reasonable resource constraints.

Meet Rockstar's Motion Capture Studio

February 26, 2009 -

The Long Island Business News has a feature on Perspectives Studio of Glen Cove, New York.

Described as "the largest 'motion capture' studio on the East Coast," Perspectives did the mocaps for Grand Theft Auto IV:

If you don’t know what motion capture, or “mocap,” is, then think of the Grand Theft Auto video game series, said Nelson, studio supervisor for Perspectives. The eerily lifelike movements in the phenomenally successful games... were shot at the Glen Cove studios.

The mocap process begins with actors and stunt people rehearsing scenes... including highly choreographed fights with guns, knives, whips and other objects... The real people are then dressed head to toe in what looks like Velcro wetsuits where silver markers, about the size of gumballs, are stuck to 53 locations on the suits...

40 cameras set along the studio walls at various heights record the action, picking up points of light from the markers attached to the suits. The movements are then mapped onto a digitized 3-D model, and a skeleton of every character and object in motion is created. Later physical features, clothes and backgrounds are filled in to create animated sequences.

Since Perspectives has an exclusive relationship with Rockstar for GTA games, naturally  we can't help but wonder whether the infamous Hot Coffee scenes were shot there...?

“We’ve done sex. Simulated, of course.”

Bingo!

5 comments

Judge Pops a Cap in Hot Coffee Class-Action Settlement

July 31, 2008 -

So you handled all the killing and thuggery in GTA San Andreas but found yourself traumatized by the hidden, pixelated sex?

Don't spend your Hot Coffee lawsuit settlement money just yet.

The New York Times reports that the Hot Coffee class-action lawsuit, which was nearing settlement, has been tossed by a federal judge:

...Judge Shirley Wohl Kram wrote that purchasers of the game could not be lumped together in a class action. The claims of members of the proposed class would be affected by the law in each purchaser’s home state, Judge Kram wrote, and therefore could not be resolved in a single proceeding in federal court in New York.

 

“Accordingly, the court decertifies the settlement class on the grounds that common issues do not predominate over individualized issues,” the judge wrote.

 

The judge’s latest decision undermines a settlement agreement reached between lawyers for purchasers of the game who contended they were offended by the hidden scenes, on the one hand, and lawyers for the game’s makers, Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games.

The NY Times notes that less than 3,000 GTA San Andreas buyers had applied to join the lawsuit. The paper had previously questioned the size of the plaintiffs' legal fees in the case. Meanwhile, attorney Ted Frank of Overlawyered writes:

Take Two spent millions negotiating and administering a settlement because the court refused to rule on its decertification motion last year; that wasted effort demonstrates why it is important for courts to resolve certification questions early in the case. But with no certified class, there can be no class settlement...

Frank, who joined the class and filed objections to the proposed settlement, wonders whether there will be an appeal.

The judge's ruling may be found here...

20 comments

NY Times Probes Legal Fees in Hot Coffee Class-action Settlement

June 25, 2008 -

The New York Times takes a look at the controversy surrounding legal fees sought by attorneys in the Hot Coffee class-action suit.

Seth Lesser, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, told the NYT he was disappointed that only 2,676 buyers of GTA San Andreas filed claims:

Am I disappointed? Sure. We can’t guess as to why now, several years later, people care or don’t care. The merits of the case were clear... The game was sold as something that it wasn’t.

As previously reported by GamePolitics (see: Did Lawyers Inflate Fees in Hot Coffee Class-action Suit?), Lesser and his legal colleagues are seeking $1.3 in fees. Meanwhile, defense attorneys for GTA publisher Take-Two say it only cost them $30,000 to defend the case.

University of Kentucky law prof Mary Davis told the Times:

It doesn’t typically go that way. [To have legal fees far exceed what plaintiffs receive] is sort of backwards.

Ted Frank, an attorney who also writes for the Overlawyered blog, commented:

There are two possibilities. Possibility one is they have a meritorious lawsuit and they’re selling out the class for attorneys’ fees. The other possibility is that, and frankly I think this is the more likely possibility, they brought a meritless lawsuit that had no business being brought to court at all.

The Times also ponders why GTA's non-stop violence is seemingly more acceptable than the Hot Coffee sex animations. Here the newspaper turns to Craig Anderson, an Iowa State prof whose research on game violence and aggression is accepted in some quarters, disputed in others:

For some reason sex is seen as more harmful to kids than violence. The irony is that in terms of the research literature on harmful effects of various forms of media, television, movies, video games, the research is very, very clear. There are significant short-term and long-term effects of violent content.

A hearing on the proposed settlement is scheduled in U.S. District Court in Manhattan today.

UPDATE: Overlawyered's Ted Frank posts his impressions of the June 25th hearing...

30 comments

Michigan Congressman Proposes "Video Game Decency Act"

September 29, 2006 -

 If you think that the political fallout from Hot Coffee is fading, think again.

The GTA San Andreas scandal not only continues to be a public relations thorn in the side of the video game industry - it's also an inviting target for politicians.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) is no stranger to the Hot Coffee affair. In July, 2005, just as the publicity over the incident was peaking, Upton proposed a resolution in Congress ordering the Federal Trade Commission to look into Hot Coffee. The motion passed 355-21, leading to the FTC's June, 2006 report on the scandal.

Upton, however, was not pleased with the FTC's findings, saying:

"I guess I thought the FTC would have had some more teeth than they apparently have... I'm not at all happy... In essence there are no consequences. None... I would like to have thought that (Take-Two and Rockstar) would have been able to be fined for millions of dollars for the trash they put out across this country."

Take-Two Stock Rebounds

September 28, 2006 -

GamePolitics has run a number of stories over the past 15 months tracking the steady decline of Take-Two's stock price in the wake of the Hot Coffee. TTWO had a pre-scandal near 28, but has been as low as 9 in recent times.

Business site MarketWatch, however, reports that TTWO is rebounding, despite new concerns about ongoing investigations by the SEC and the Manhattan District Attorney's office. There are also a number of shareholder suits pending as well as the controversy surrounding the October 17th release of Bully.

With the stock price now in the mid-teens, MarketWatch cites the strength of the Grand Theft Auto franchise as a factor in TTWO's rally.

"We view it as a company that has had some problems. But, (Take-Two) has been disproportionately punished," said Emmanuel Ferreira of the Oppenheimer Quest Opportunity Value Fund. Ferreira told MarketWatch Take-Two has no debt, possesses a talented development team and has high liquidity.
 


"I think the worse they do, the more people believe it will be bought out," said Michael Pachter, an analyst who tracks the video sector for Wedbush-Morgan. "They can make a couple of dollars a share every time they bring out a new version of Grand Theft Auto. That will put a floor on the stock."

 

 

 
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Should 'Hatred' have been removed from Steam Greenlight?:

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Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.businessinsider.com/xbox-one-virtual-reality-headset-will-compete-with-oculus-rift-2014-12 can a xbo even handle doing vr?12/21/2014 - 10:48pm
PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
Papa MidnightAh, so it was downtime. I've been seeing post appear in my RSS feed, but I was unable to access GamePolitics today across several ISPs.12/18/2014 - 6:06pm
 

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