July 21, 2006 10:35 AM PDT

FTC closes 'Grand Theft Auto' inquiry

The Federal Trade Commission has unanimously approved its consent order and agreement with "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, the company announced Friday.

Under the terms of the agreement, which was originally announced June 8 and which came after months of government investigation into sexually themed content hidden in the popular video game, Take-Two agreed to "clearly and prominently disclose on product packaging and in any promotion or advertisement content relevant to the rating."

Members of Congress, including New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton, had gotten involved after the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) forced Take-Two to change the rating for "GTA: San Andreas" from "M," for mature, to "AO," for adults only in the wake of revelations that the game had sexually suggestive scenes hidden in its code that were easily uncovered.

And in May, another Take-Two game, "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" had its rating changed by the ESRB from "Teen" to "Mature" after the board determined that the company had played down the game's level of violence and included a topless woman that could be revealed with a third-party modification like the one that uncovered the GTA content.

Take-Two agreed in June to pay $11,000 per violation of the agreement in the future.

Take-Two spokesman Jim Ankner would not comment on the FTC's closing of its inquiry but pointed to a statement by company CEO Paul Eibeler.

"We are extremely pleased that the FTC has concluded its very thorough investigation and that the matter has been resolved," Eibeler said in the statement. "We look forward to putting this behind us and focusing on what we do best--creating video games."

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Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., Grand Theft Auto, inquiry, agreement, video game

 

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