Monday, January 30, 2006

Hittin' Switches

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- The city attorney's office filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Take Two, publisher of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," for allegedly hiding pornographic material inside the video game. As you know, the game features characters that commit crimes such as murder, drug dealing and pimping. The game also purportedly has an embedded "mini game" in which characters could engage in explicit sexual acts.

Rocky Delgadillo said his office sued for making misleading statements in marketing the game and engaging in unfair competition. The industry board that rates video games gave it a mature rating but would have given it an adults-only rating if it knew of the explicit content, Delgadillo said. But Delgadillo's attempts to find the mini-game were rejected when he failed to complete his assigned missions.

The game's rating was later changed and retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co., pulled copies from their store shelves. The game was re-rated only after more than 12 million units had been sold, generating about $600 million in retail sales.

"Businesses have an obligation to truthfully disclose the content of their products -- whether in the food we eat or the entertainment we consume," Delgadillo said. "They also have an obligation to leak cheat codes so that amateur gamers like myself can engaging in simulated pornographic activities." Delgadillo is seeking civil penalties from Rockstar Games Take-Two Interactive.