If you ever owned a copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, specifically the naughty version that contained the crude, digital doggy-styling mission known as "Hot Coffee," you may already be five U.S. dollars richer. Publisher Take-Two is sending out checks.
Those checks are part of publisher Take-Two Interactive's efforts to "voluntarily fulfill all properly-submitted claims" over the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "Hot Coffee" incident and lawsuit. The game, originally released in 2004 on the PlayStation 2, featured hidden data for a playable sex mini-game that was not meant to be accessed by players. That data was eventually accessed by Patrick Wildenborg, a Dutch modder, via the PC version of the game, released in 2005.
In the ensuing fallout, the ESRB re-rated the game "AO," meaning it was appropriate for Adults Only, and prompted a recall and relabeling of the original version. Publisher Take-Two was later hit with multiple lawsuits over the incident.
As part of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas settlement, owners of the original version of the Rockstar Games-developed PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC game could receive cash compensation for their offended sensibilities. Those payouts, ranging from $5 USD to $35 USD, are on their way to claimants now, as at least one Kotaku reader can attest.
According to the official GTA Settlement web site, "All those who filed claims for benefits prior to the May 16, 2008, deadline will receive those benefits prior to April 15, 2010."
Here's the official letter:
Dear Eligible Claimant:
Although the court hearing this action decided not to certify a settlement class, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. will voluntarily fulfill all properly-submitted claims.
By depositing the attached check, you will release any and all claims, of any nature whatsoever, including unknown claims, arising out of your purchase or use of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game, against the Defendants, their officers, employees and representatives, and all persons or entities that designed, manufactured, supplied, advertised and marketed Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. You also will be deemed to have waived any and all rights that you have under any law or regulation that would otherwise limit the effect of this release to claims actually known or suspected to exist at the time of execution of this Settlement Agreement, including, but not limited to, the provisions of Section 1542 of the California Civil Code, to the extent deemed applicable, which provides as follows:
1542. "GENERAL RELEASE-CLAIMS EXTINGUISHED. A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS WHICH THE CREDITOR DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE, WHICH IF KNOWN BY HIM MUST HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR."
GTA: San Andreas 1st Edition Settlement Administrator
Five dollars. Now that's gangster.
Thanks to SouthernerIsuppose for the tip.