The city of Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against TakeTwo Interactive, or RockStar Games claiming that the poronographic content hidden within their Grand Theft Auto game violates state fair business laws.
“Failure to disclose pornographic content is a violation of the State’s fair business practices law, greed and deception are part of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ story — and in that respect its publishers are not much different from the characters in their story. Businesses have an obligation to truthfully disclose the content of their products — whether in the food we eat or the entertainment we consume.” says an L.A. attorney.
A minigame within RockStar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” game allowed players to engage in sexual intercourse between characters, resulting in the immediate launch of several lawsuits a few months before. The well-known Jack Thompson acquired his fame through his lawsuit against RockStar Games for selling this sexually explicit content to children.
RockStar reported sales of over a half billion dollars on the Grand Theft Auto game, money which the city of Los Angeles wants to take a portion of.
When the game was released in 2004, it immediately caught the attention of hundreds of gamers. The player takes the place of a criminal downtown San Andreas perfoming such acts as robbery, drug-dealing and murder. At release, the game was given a Mature (17+) rating, however, when the secret sex scene was unlocked, the game was rerated to be Adults Only (18+).
With the new rating, many retailers stopped selling copies of the game (due to policy, restricted markets, or otherwise), causing the sales of the game to plummet, up to that point 12 million units of the game had already been sold, creating enormous profits for RockStar Games.
“The suit is not likely to change the direction of the gaming industry, Rockstar has had a lot of success in creating violent games and they will carry on doing this.” says an industry analyst.
“Grand Theft Auto achieved good sales before the issue of the rating was raised. In the UK, the game had an 18+ rating from the start and it was not sold in supermarkets. Nonetheless, sales of the game were extremely good.”