July 20, 2005

GTA: San Andreas rating changed from M to AO; retailers yank game from shelves

Take-Two Interactive, parent company of video game developer Rockstar Games announced today that they are changing the video game rating on the popular video and computer game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas from M (Mature 17+) to AO (Adults Only 18+). This was due to the "Hot Coffee" modification (which can be downloaded from the internet, and no, I'm not linking to the mod) that permits users to enact pornographic acts in the game.

The video game industry on Wednesday changed to adults-only the rating of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," a best-selling game in which explicit sexual content can be unlocked with an Internet download.

The decision followed intense pressure from politicians and media watch groups, and retailers reacted swiftly — Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. said they would immediately pull all copies from their store shelves nationwide.

The game's producer, Rockstar Games, said it stopped making the current version and would provide new labels to any retailer willing to keep selling the games, which had been rated "M" for mature. The company also will offer a downloadable patch to fix the sex problem in PC versions, and is working on a new, more secure version, to be rated "M."

Rockstar's parent company, Take Two Interactive, also admitted for the first time that the sex scenes had been built into the retail version of that game — not just the PC version but also those written for Xbox and PlayStation2 consoles.

Company officials had previously suggested that a modification created by outsiders added the scenes.

Most retailers refrain from selling AO-rated games, and in addition to the larger retailers, many smaller retailers will likely stop carrying the best selling title.

Personally, I doubt that the bulk of those retailers will go back to carrying the revised version of the game if and when it is ever released by Rockstar.

Posted by mhking at July 20, 2005 11:56 PM

I really enjoyed GTA3 but Vice City sits on the shelf gathering dust, virtually unplayed. The game just doesn't draw me in. So San Andreas isn't on my to-do list, anyway. I do wish there was a sequel to Mafia.

Posted by: The Owner's Manual at July 21, 2005 01:02 AM

Well, I wasn't even thinking of buying it until it started being pulled off of shelves.

Posted by: ccs178 (Chris) at July 22, 2005 10:10 AM