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Grand Theft Auto Marketers May Have Gone a Buzz Too Far. But We'll See...

Posted by: David Kiley on July 22, 2005

When news first broke about a hidden sex scene in videogame “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”, I was pretty sure that the move was done by the company to create fresh buzz around the title similar to the way Carl’s Jr. has been using an online sexy video to draw traffic to its site and attention to its brand. The gameplan, I figured, was to get enough people complaining about the hidden scene and videogames in general that greater numbers of gamers would be drawn to San Andreas.

It appears, though, that maybe gamer Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (Nasdaq:TTWO - news) unit Rockstar Games may…and I stress the word “may” here…have overplayed. The game had already been a lightning rod for controversy, since it rewards players for committing crimes. But retailers like Gamestop and Circuit City have pulled the game. The Entertainment Software Rating Board advised retailers to pull the videogame off store shelves until Take-Two can place new “adults-only” ratings stickers on the game’s packaging or release new discs without the objectionable material.

As the biggest distributors of videogames pull Grand Theft Auto San Andreas to comply with the rating shift and to insure good public relations, the game becomes harder to find. Distribution is important. If it’s too hard to find, then people lose interest. Also, as troubling as the Grand Theft Auto franchise is to parents, the company may have given the big retailers the “poster-game” they need to make a statement to regulators eyeballing tougher restrictions on videogame content. Will retailers now decide to nix the whole Grand Theft Auto line as a gesture?

Certainly, if that’s the case, selling the game exclusively online is the next option. And that could work out fine in the long run, but we’ll have to watch. After all, nothing says “buy me” to a 15-year old quite like a message that this product is too racy to sell at Circuit City and Gamestop. Perhaps TTI should consider shrink-wrapping the game with a 16 oz. can of malt liquor and a pack of Luckys and make the whole thing an online only purchase. In the long run, it might increase sales even if the company is taking it on the chin in the short run.

Reader Comments


July 22, 2005 4:59 PM

if parents don't like the game then why thye hell do they buy it for there kids????


July 22, 2005 7:09 PM

I think the game should not be banded form stores i mean they sell movies with the same kind of stuff.


July 23, 2005 1:28 PM

Who really cares if there's a sex scene in GTA:San Andreas? It's a freakin' video game. Kids now-a-days learn worse stuff in health class. Making it AO rated is just going to make kids want it even more. And so what if the game promotes killing cops and committing other crimes. Just because someone sees someone else doing something else wrong it doesn't mean that they are going to go and follow the example set. Overall, The ADULTS/PARENTS of America are making a huge fuss out of something that really shouldn't matter. They shoulod just leave the game alone and go on with there lives and worry about more important actions that are being made.(ie. the possibility of the draft being reinstated).


July 23, 2005 10:42 PM

Well wasn’t gta an adult game in the first place? And if a parent bought the game for there kid is it not there own fault, gta (all of the games made) do have warnings on the box cover. M for mature in the UK 18 only. Even today on T.V commercials have explicit scene right? Now a days kids under 18 have a tely in there bedroom, late night moves have graphic scenes. The game it's self protrudes as "real life" in gangsters wanna be world- "sad I know" but still it is a fact of life. It takes away from the disturbing act of real life TV come on lets be a Hilton like that is going to happen. No mater what is said and done nothing can be more disturbing as the simple life no wonder the world turn's to violence and rap. But when a kid listens to Marlin Manson automatically he or she becomes a target of violence. In gta it real every day theirs a "CJ" born regardless of race, theirs a crime someone killing a person over something stupid. I guess what I am saying is if the government can't stop the killings and theft in there own streets how can they stop violence in a game or is violence not the issue? I hate rap tell a kid in a rap song? To shot a cop he's going to do it eventually.



July 24, 2005 11:05 PM

I think it sucks. What about games like Leasure Suit Larry and Playboy. Those games have nude chicks and sex. I don't see anybody making a big deal out of them.

diego burgueno

August 22, 2005 11:30 PM

well well I though rated M fo Mature means only adults 17 or older could purchase rated M games what the hell is all this bullshit about parents not letting there kids buy those types of games come on now y the hell is the dam playboy games being banned and all other nude games tha just a bunch of bullsshhiitt.


September 4, 2005 2:26 PM

I think as a gammer of america that the game gta san andreas is a good game... But know the people of the esrb have found out the hot coffe mini game in san andreas. I do not see what is the problem if you can have sex in video games just look at other games like lesuire suit larry and playboy and dont forget all of the old games from like 1976 and stuff like that when the first lesuier suit larry came out they were trying too have people have sex in the window. soo whats the big problem with the fact that sex is in a game. In mostly all over the world there are places with sex videos and games in the same store by each other plus we all have titles that have sex realated names like the title bmx xxx that game was just edgeing for peolple to rent the game or buy it thats all the gaming industry is trying too do is have gamers like me and you to go out and buy the game. They want us the consumer to buy the game so that they can get a profit of our money. this is just my opinion i hope none of you are too retarded to realize that so byb.

Philip Manriquez

September 7, 2005 12:44 PM

This "Hidden pornography" doesn't even qualify as pornography. There's no actual nudity, and you need to download a modification to access it anyway, so there's no reason to change the rating or pull it from store shelves. It just as easy for a child to access an adult website- with real nudity- as it is to download the modification.


September 15, 2005 12:04 PM

are you all fools, the game doesn't have a hidden sex scene I know I've actually got it, the sex scene was a modification marketed for free on the net, I've downloaded it and examined the files, all the explicit material was in the download, not in the game itself, there are tons of modifications (mostly new vehicles/guns/clothes) and rockstar have taken a huge beating for something they didn't do because some old guy who has never played a video game in his life walked in on his son using the modification and didn't understand what it was!


September 30, 2005 3:13 PM

GTA san andreas is the best game ever it has sex and stuff


October 2, 2005 2:23 PM

The information was good. I like your site. Best regards

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November 16, 2005 4:49 PM

i think people should realize its a game.

discount office furniture

January 30, 2006 4:50 PM

there shouldn't be too much about videogames, we see the same things on free stuff like news, tv shows, music videos, internet, so what's thedeal with vgames???


April 2, 2006 9:48 PM

why don't you all just do something better with your time instead of looking at women. Go pray.. read your bible. You'll find a lot more in there then in a pair of tits.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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