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FTC Probes Take-Two

July 27, 2005|Alex Pham | Times Staff Writer

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. on Tuesday said the Federal Trade Commission had launched a probe of the company after recent revelations that its bestselling game, "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," contained hidden sex scenes.

The announcement came a day after House lawmakers passed a resolution asking the commission to investigate whether Take-Two misled consumers by failing to disclose the scenes to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

The scenes, which can be viewed only by using software available on the Internet to unlock them, were made public by a Dutch programmer in June, prompting the rating board last week to yank the title's original "Mature" rating and assign it an "Adults Only" rating. That led most U.S. retailers to pull the game off store shelves.

FTC spokeswoman Claudia Bourne Farrell confirmed the investigation, but declined to provide further details.

"The agency takes the 'Grand Theft Auto' situation very seriously as it does the House resolution," she said.

New York-based Take-Two said in a statement that it would cooperate with FTC officials and "refine the process by which it edits games."

Last week, Take-Two promised to stop selling the title and to release a version without the scenes by the end of the year, a move that is expected to cost the company $45 million in lost revenue.

Take-Two shares fell $1.84 to $23.59.

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