Hot Coffee Modification
In mid-June 2005, a file modifying the game dubbed "Hot Coffee" was released. After installing the patch/mod, users can enter the main character's girlfriends' houses and engage in a crudely rendered, partially clothed sexual intercourse mini-game.
The name "Hot Coffee" refers to the way the released game alludes to the unseen sex scenes. In the unmodified game, the player takes his girlfriend to her front door and she asks him if he would like to come in for "some coffee." He agrees, and the camera stays outside, swaying back and forth a bit, while moaning sounds are heard.
In the middle of July 2005, the ESRB, as well as various politicians including Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), launched an investigation into the Hot Coffee mod. Initially, Rockstar released a statement that strongly suggested that the Hot Coffee content was entirely created by "hackers". However, this claim was undermined when codes were released on web forums for the PlayStation 2 Gameshark and AR Max cheating devices that demonstrated that the controversial content was, indeed, built into the console versions.
Confusing the issue is a recent version of the Hot Coffee mod which replaces the semi-nude girlfriends' textures with unclothed bitmaps that cannot be seen without the mod.
On July 20, 2005, San Andreas was rerated as "AO" (Adults Only) by the ESRB. Rockstar has halted production of all versions of San Andreas and plans to release a censored version of the game, which is intended to conform to the initial "M" rating, later this year. Due to the new AO rating, many major retail outlets, including Sears, Hollywood Video, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Blockbuster Video, Target and GameStop, have pulled the PC and console versions of the game from their shelves.
On July 29, 2005, as a result of the newly-discovered scenes, the (OFLC) Office of Film and Literature Classification (Australia) revoked the game's "MA15+" classification (the highest currently available for computer games in Australia), and changed the game's status to "RC" (Refused Classification) meaning that the original version could no longer be sold in Australia. The patched version was given an "MA15+" classification on September 12, 2005.
As of July 23, 2005, however, the PEGI rating for the game has remained unchanged, although it is likely that the PEGI sexual content label will be added to the game cover. The effect on San Andreas sales is as of yet unknown, but Take Two Interactive has revised its projected financial statement for the quarter to reflect a further anticipated loss.
On August 10, 2005, Rockstar Games officially released a patch for San Andreas. Nicknamed the "Cold Coffee Patch" by some, the patch fixed many performance issues and bugs. However, the most major addition was that the patch disabled the controversial "Hot Coffee" scenes, even if the "Hot Coffee" mod was reinstalled.
The game has since been re-released with the "Hot Coffee" scenes removed (Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas 1.01), allowing the game to return to its "M" rating. However, the "Hot Coffee" mod dashed financial expectations for TakeTwo Games, which lost $28.8 million in its fiscal 3rd quarter of 2005 (May to July) partly because of the rerating; the company lost $14.4 million in the same quarter in 2004.
On August 24, 2005, Rockstar announced a mandatory recall for all games still owned by the general public. Consumers who had already purchased the game were allowed to keep it in certain areas, but with the patch installed, although many serious players refused to use it as it did little but block out an unused part of the game's code.
In November 11, 2005, FOX program Killer Instinct's latest episode focuses on a hit online video-game with explicit violence that can cause players to murder people. Other parts of it shows us that teenagers are playing it and the worst thing is unlocking sexually explicit scenes and mini-games (aka Hot Coffee Scandal) caused the detectives to find the creator of the game, get information and stop the murderer who's been playing the game for hours (ala-Devin Moore). The fictional game title was Murder One: San Fransisco and the box art looks similar to San Andreas and Vice City but with badly drawn art. Also, the fake game is actually pre-rendered with models from Poser. It is also combined with another upcoming controversial game, 25 to Life, a cops and robbers simulator.
Rockstar has since vowed legal action against any subsequent sources that reveal how to access this part of the game, mainly cheat device code sites.