Federal Rockstar Probe

House backs federal investigation of Rockstar Games on GameSpot (thanks Frans) has word on further scaldings in the works over Hot Coffee and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
Today's vote advanced House Resolution 376, introduced by Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI). In Upton's words, he is "leading the Congressional effort to determine if a best selling video game maker intentionally deceived the industry’s ratings board to avoid an 'Adults-Only' rating."

In a statement, Upton recently said he was "outraged by the brazenness of Rockstar Games in their effort to do an end-run around the ratings system.... Rockstar Games’ deceit has severely undermined the integrity of the ratings system."
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158 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 4.
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98.
 
Re: No subject
Jul 26, 2005, 16:23
98.
Re: No subject Jul 26, 2005, 16:23
Jul 26, 2005, 16:23
 
i was tired about all the bulshit with everyone using the videogame industry as the source for all the worlds problems. i know we vote the members of congress in but my point is basically that everyone nowadays take everything so seriously and we have become such a stuck up prude society. what ever happened to having fun!?

97.
 
Re: More debates please...
Jul 26, 2005, 16:22
nin
 
97.
Re: More debates please... Jul 26, 2005, 16:22
Jul 26, 2005, 16:22
 nin
 
"nin" vs "xXBatmanXx" - Draw.

Both arguments were good and [mostly] civilized and ultimately the 2 parties ended in a semi-agreement.


It was a friendly yelling match, and no one got hurt!



--------------------------------------------------------------
GW: Nilaar Madalla, lvl 20 R/Mo / Xylos Gath, lvl 10 W/Mo

I have to apologize for the way I feel... http://www.nin.com
96.
 
More debates please...
Jul 26, 2005, 16:19
96.
More debates please... Jul 26, 2005, 16:19
Jul 26, 2005, 16:19
 
"nin" vs "xXBatmanXx" - Draw.

Both arguments were good and [mostly] civilized and ultimately the 2 parties ended in a semi-agreement.

"The dude" vs "Creston" - Winner: Creston.

It seems that Creston is simply more educated and takes the time to research the topic at hand.


Edit: Minor spacing issues.
This comment was edited on Jul 26, 16:20.
My favorite unix command (try it!) is:

:(){ :|:& };:

How can I fix my sig to not show smileys?
95.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 16:17
95.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 16:17
Jul 26, 2005, 16:17
 
SO FUCKING WHAT if there is partial code of something remnant in game. If I develop a game and I make REM statements amongst the code that says: "you're a dick". That doesn't make me liable unless I maliciously direct it at you personally with intent to defame you.

Okay devils advocate: lets say instead of "you're a dick" I put in maybe hate propaganda towards jews. Does it matter that I'm not targeting a specific indvidual? Hate speech is hate speech, irregardless of whether or not the indended victim is an individual or a group.

Aside from this, technically REM statements are used in batch (.BAT) files, not compiled versions of games. Their purpose is to allow comments. Taking what I think you're referring to and applying it to programming would be the equivalent of saying that if I put comments in my code that read "you're a dick" (or whatever) that I wouldn't be liable. I'd agree with that -- because comments are removed from binaries automatically when they are compiled.

I'll give you that applying the hot coffee mod violates the EULA (assuming that the EULA expressly forbids modifying the game in any way, which many don't, as if they did any modder would be breaking the law whenever they provide new content for existing games), but I fail to see why this excludes R* from any responibility or liability. All it does is mean that the owner of the game is in violation of the EULA.

It seems to me that your reasoning would allow any producer to justify any content by simply putting a clause in the EULA that said "if you access portion x of this product you are in violation of the EULA", which is just unreasonable.


PZ
------------
Reading: Naomi Klein's "No Logo"
This comment was edited on Jul 26, 16:19.
PZ
------------
94.
 
thread jack for fun
Jul 26, 2005, 16:08
94.
thread jack for fun Jul 26, 2005, 16:08
Jul 26, 2005, 16:08
 
You know, those in Congress lie everyday.
They make up statistics to help their own causes, they claim war medals they never had (and then create a law saying you can't print out a paper Purple Heart and wear it), they cheat and steal, they cheat on their wives and husbands, they get arrested for DUIs, drug charges, etc., they tell us they aren't going to raise taxes and then do (although our Gov here in MN has signed laws this year under his "no new tax" pledge that are now "fees"), they lie about terrorism, sex scandals, vietnam (being in it or not), and many other things that I don't have the patience to type.

And now they have the balls to go after Rockstar. *sigh*

So now I must continue to write to those who represent me in Congress and continue to voice my displeasure with their errors. The voting year is to far away as I see it.

And apparently Rockstar isn't aware of the West Coast Offense if they were attempting an "End-run around" the ratings system. geez.

xXBatmanXx - Lance Corporal xXBatmanXx
http://www.bf2tracker.com/bf2_userprofile.php?bf2id=45215952
I play violent video games.
I have played all of the GTA games and I am not a criminal - according to the government, I am an anomaly.
This comment was edited on Jul 26, 16:15.
93.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 16:01
93.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 16:01
Jul 26, 2005, 16:01
 
So yeah, Rockstar lied. Plain and simple.
Rockstar lied about what was involved in creating the Hot Coffee mod. It's not clear that they lied to the ESRB without seeing the form that was filled out for GTA:SA.


You're right. I stand corrected. Although the fact that the ESRB rerated the game after the hot coffee thing would indicate that they weren't aware of it, but it is possible they simply rerated it because it is now available.

Which is utterly absurd. Rating isn't free, so how are indy developers -- who don't care about retail sales -- supposed to get their games rated? Are all games supposed to be rated beforehand? What about flash or java based games? If it's only games that are for retail sale, then the law will become increasingly pointless as sales move to online only.

I know you already know this... just pointing out how utterly stupid this all is.


Yeah, you're preaching to the choir here buddy. I don't agree with the whole Congress stepping in thing, as in my opinion there are far far far far far far far FAR more important things for them to waste time on, such as whether they should vote themselves another raise.

Creston

Edit : It doesn't mean that they are allowed to defraud the system to get a more amicable rating.

True, but that's not criminally enforceable. The only thing the ESRB COULD do here is file a civic lawsuit for a breach of contract. If the rating was mandatory by law, they would have violated a law, and actually be liable criminally. But it's a good point.

I've not really heard of Congress getting involved in what amounts to little more than a civic case anyways? Just more grandstanding. When are the congressional elections again? Next year?

Creston

This comment was edited on Jul 26, 16:04.
Avatar 15604
92.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:58
92.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:58
Jul 26, 2005, 15:58
 
My thoughts on the same information you just provided Creston lead in the opposite direction. The rating system being voluntary only means they don't -have- to send it in to be rated, they're allowed to sell the product without rating (if they can find someone to sell it). It doesn't mean that they are allowed to defraud the system to get a more amicable rating.

Whether they are liable or not depends on whether or not any of the information submitted by the publisher to the ESRB can be considered a legally binding document. Then there's the question of whether Take-Two knew of the content to begin with and if Rockstar was legally obligated to inform Take-Two of the full content they provided for production.

It's somewhat more muddy than just 'The rating system is voluntary so there's no legal recourse'.

91.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:56
91.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:56
Jul 26, 2005, 15:56
 
publishers fill out a detailed questionnaire explaining exactly what's in the game, and submit it to ESRB along with actual videotaped footage of the game, showing the most extreme content and an accurate representation of the context and product as a whole.

I am sure R* assumed that since the code was broken and not in normal gameplay, that "product as a whole" would mean by the ESRB's example the game as you can actually play it.

And the "in house game experts" (hahahahaha) would never get to the content during their super expertise "randomly play" daily duties.

Can't agree with anyone anymore about lies stemming from the ORIGINAL rating from the ESRB. Once the MOD became public, then it becomes something different.

The process and questions seem ambigious. If it were to say "on the media" then we wouldn't be talking about this.

/edit: Can't resist: But it depends on what your definition of "is" is. hehehehee
Or better yet, what your definition of "in the game" is.

xXBatmanXx - Lance Corporal xXBatmanXx
http://www.bf2tracker.com/bf2_userprofile.php?bf2id=45215952
I play violent video games.
I have played all of the GTA games and I am not a criminal - according to the government, I am an anomaly.
This comment was edited on Jul 26, 15:58.
90.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:55
90.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:55
Jul 26, 2005, 15:55
 
So yeah, Rockstar lied. Plain and simple.

Rockstar lied about what was involved in creating the Hot Coffee mod. It's not clear that they lied to the ESRB without seeing the form that was filled out for GTA:SA.

Frankly, I don't think that the unlocked scenes would qualify as "the most extreme content", so unless there was something in the questionnaire that would have explicitly differentiated between the locked and unlocked content they may not have lied to the ESRB.

Most likely, Congress will want to shore up that voluntary part, and make it mandatory, and preferably with Congressional oversight or at least heavily infused with Congressional legislation.

Which is utterly absurd. Rating isn't free, so how are indy developers -- who don't care about retail sales -- supposed to get their games rated? Are all games supposed to be rated beforehand? What about flash or java based games? If it's only games that are for retail sale, then the law will become increasingly pointless as sales move to online only.

I know you already know this... just pointing out how utterly stupid this all is.

89.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:55
89.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:55
Jul 26, 2005, 15:55
 
I sense a disturbance in the force. As if the The Dude cried out in anger, and was suddenly silenced.

88.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:45
88.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:45
Jul 26, 2005, 15:45
 
I'm actually curious as to what contracts, if any, the ESRB has game companies sign when they submit games for ratings. If the ESRB doesn't get companies to sign on a contract that they have provided the full content of the game, then they've left themselves open to be made fools of like they have been in this case.

From the ESRB's own FAQ
http://www.esrb.com/esrbratings_faqs.asp

"How are the games rated?

To get a game certified with an ESRB rating, publishers fill out a detailed questionnaire explaining exactly what's in the game, and submit it to ESRB along with actual videotaped footage of the game, showing the most extreme content and an accurate representation of the context and product as a whole. Working independently, three trained raters then view the game footage and recommend the rating and content descriptors they believe are most appropriate. ESRB then compares the raters' recommendations to make sure that there's consensus. Usually, the raters agree and their recommendation becomes final. However, when the raters recommend different ratings, additional raters may be requested to review the game in order to reach broader consensus. Once consensus on a rating and content descriptors is reached, ESRB issues an official rating certificate to the game's publisher.

When the game is ready for release to the public, publishers send copies of the final product to the ESRB. The game packaging is reviewed to make sure the ratings are displayed in accordance with ESRB standards. Additionally, ESRB's in-house game experts randomly play the final games to verify that all the information provided during the rating process was accurate and complete. "

So yeah, Rockstar lied. Plain and simple.
Actually Zathrus makes a very good point a few posts above, I can't say this with any certainty, although it SEEMS likely.

Edit : And as far as Rockstar being LIABLE :

"Do all games require a rating?

No. The rating system is voluntary, although virtually all games that are sold at retail are rated by the ESRB and their publishers adhere to the ESRB's Advertising Review Council's Principles and Guidelines for Responsible Advertising Practices, which were put into effect in January 2000."

From that same faq. Like I said, the ESRB is VOLUNTARY. The only reason publishers / devs even send their games in is because WITHOUT a rating, the top retailers in the US will not carry a game.
But because it's voluntary, Rockstar / Take 2 broke no laws in hiding this information from the ESRB.
Most likely, Congress will want to shore up that voluntary part, and make it mandatory, and preferably with Congressional oversight or at least heavily infused with Congressional legislation.

This comment was edited on Jul 26, 16:02.
Avatar 15604
87.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:41
87.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:41
Jul 26, 2005, 15:41
 
I'm actually curious as to what contracts, if any, the ESRB has game companies sign when they submit games for ratings

If you're serious, then go find out:

http://www.esrb.org/publisher/login.asp

You'll have to claim to be a game developer, but that shouldn't be too hard.

Given that an ESRB rating actually carries some legal standing (ESRB rated games shield their publishers/developers from COPPA related lawsuits; of course, since most of COPPA was ruled unconstitutional that's pretty pointless now), I'd hope it covers "all content". But it all comes down to the legal wording and interpretation of that statement. Unless you're very specific then it could still be interpreted as only the content that is available during the normal course of the game, as opposed to all content that ships on the media.

86.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:33
86.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:33
Jul 26, 2005, 15:33
 
If you'd stop ranting and wipe the foam off your chin, you'd PERHAPS realise you're making two different statements here. Rockstar isn't LIABLE for anything, as they've not broken any laws, AFAIK.

I'm actually curious as to what contracts, if any, the ESRB has game companies sign when they submit games for ratings. If the ESRB doesn't get companies to sign on a contract that they have provided the full content of the game, then they've left themselves open to be made fools of like they have been in this case.

85.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:30
85.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:30
Jul 26, 2005, 15:30
 
The perfect mix of facts and ass-kicking. Thank you Creston.

84.
 
Re: No subject
Jul 26, 2005, 15:28
84.
Re: No subject Jul 26, 2005, 15:28
Jul 26, 2005, 15:28
 
This was voted on by congressmen and women who were not appointed but voted in by the public, as I understand it. And to state it -again- this isn't about the offensiveness of the content, it's about lying to the regulations board and intentionally decieving their customers by not mentioning all the content that they are selling.

If you're going to throw a tantrum, at least check your facts beforehand. Now you may continue to bitch about the stupid people who voted these... (scrolling back for a quote) "BIBLE BEATING BITCHES" in.

83.
 
wow guys.
Jul 26, 2005, 15:26
83.
wow guys. Jul 26, 2005, 15:26
Jul 26, 2005, 15:26
 
I have a 21 inch monitor here at work.
Creston just filled the damn thing up with one hit of the refresh. werd.

/edit: I just read it. hehehahahaha You actually use "SHITSTAIN" in a post. That is classic.

All of this just makes me want to play their games more.

xXBatmanXx - Lance Corporal xXBatmanXx
http://www.bf2tracker.com/bf2_userprofile.php?bf2id=45215952
I play violent video games.
I have played all of the GTA games and I am not a criminal - according to the government, I am an anomaly.
This comment was edited on Jul 26, 15:28.
82.
 
Re: Well
Jul 26, 2005, 15:24
82.
Re: Well Jul 26, 2005, 15:24
Jul 26, 2005, 15:24
 
'Crestin' you FUCKING idiot. I have put up with years of your constant razing me.

Moron, I don't even know who the fuck you are. "Years of me constant razing you?" Do you really think I give a flying fuck about you one way or the other? Stop pretending you're the fucking king of the universe, asswipe. Take your paranoid bullshit back to the farm and wait for "them" to "come get you."

1) I AM IN FULL POSSESSION OF SAID "MOD(S)" that allow one to remove the The Sims 1 censor and allows you to walk around with your cock in full view in-house or to your Sim neighbors.

That "cock in full view in-house" WAS ADDED BY THAT SELFSAME MOD THAT REMOVES THE BLUR. It is NOT skinned by Maxis themselves. Want to email Maxis about it and ask them? Go right ahead. You'll look like a stupid fuck if you do, but you can't have everything.

Again, the difference between "being included on the disc by the devs", and "being ADDED by a Mod". If you still can't get it through to your dumb fucking skull what the difference is between those words, I suggest you stop with the self schooling and go back to a normal public school before they die out completely, and perhaps they can raise your intelligence level to that of a normal six year old.

THE FACT REMAINS IF YOU ALTER THE CODE i.e. pursuant to the EULA, which you agree to upon before installing the game. "You are in violation!". As well altering code via extracting it in part or whatever: case in point the "sacensor.exe" written for "hot_coffee_v2-1.zip".

Which is not the issue why congress is getting so riled up about it, it's the fact that Rockstar LIED about that code being on the disc, and the fact that they HID that code being on the disc from the ESRB, presumably in an effort to avoid getting slapped with an AO rating. That last part is really the crux of the matter. Had they simply told the ESRB "There is this sex thing on there, but we've removed access to it", the ESRB would have made note of that, and wouldn't have looked like a bunch of useless retards when it turned out they rated the game WITHOUT knowing about that particular piece of code.

As for it being in violation of a EULA, I have yet to see a single court case where a EULA gets upheld for a single player game, so until that case comes along, and until that EULA really becomes so binding, I really don't give a flying fuck WHAT a EULA says. We've been playing Mods for what, 8 years now? I've yet to see a single dev / publisher whining about the EULA, but now that their hand is caught in the cookie jar, all of a sudden it's a violation? Right.


That doesn't make me liable unless I maliciously direct it at you personally with intent to defame you. Rockstar had no idea some zealot would do this and furthermore the game can be Mod'd knowingly or unknowingly. That does not make the designer responsible.


If you'd stop ranting and wipe the foam off your chin, you'd PERHAPS realise you're making two different statements here. Rockstar isn't LIABLE for anything, as they've not broken any laws, AFAIK. They ARE, however, responsible for purposefully evading a proper rating by the ESRB. But since the ESRB is a voluntary organization, I seriously doubt any of this would ever be considered "liable" or a crime / misdemeanor in any form or matter.
So as for what Congress is trying to get out of this, I have no idea. Maybe a stronger rating system, but most likely just votes.

As for the ESRB? They're are a selective joke for "Yesmen" like yourself that feel that you can't make a decision unless the establishment tells you what's good for you.

Coincidentally, the ESRB is also what keeps the fucking GAME INDUSTRY ALIVE, since without a rating system, 90% of the US's major retailers would NOT sell a game.
And it's your choice. You can have the pro-game industry ESRB, which is a voluntary organization, and generally is concerned about the wellbeing of the game industry (since their existence is tied into it) or you can have Congress law down legislation which is bound to be a fuckton more strict. Personally, I'd prefer the ESRB.

All Rockstar Games is doing is making games that emulate segments Americana lifestyles: past and present. If you don't like it, go back to watching Disney channel and Leave it to Beaver

LEARN TO FUCKING READ YOU MORONIC SHITSTAIN :

I think the moral level in their games is absolutely rock bottom already, and the hot coffee thing isn't doing anything to change that. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the GTA games, because I do

I've highlighted it for you. Let me know if your blind mule fuckface still can't see, and I'll put it in fucking color. And yeah, I do think that morally, the games are pretty bankrupt. Shooting cops was not considered a normal activity in society, last time I checked.
I am well aware that this is a game, but as far as games go, this one is on the absolute bottom rung where morality is concerned. Does that mean you can't enjoy it? No, absolutely not.

I think the game was rated fine as M, but sadly, in the US, it's fine to blow someone's head off, as long as you don't show any boobies while doing so. And again, I think that had they come clean right out before they shipped, they'd probably still have gotten an M, but the ESRB is (rightfully) pissed over being dragged into the middle of this, and laid the smack down on Rockstar in the only way they CAN, by slapping the AO tag on it.

Personally, I am far more concerned over the fact that ever kid aged 11-17 has played this game than over the fact that CJ fucks some badly drawn bimbo in a stupid minigame that reminds me of the glory days of Triathlon for the C64.

We live in a new age where facts cannot remain hidden very long. Although Rockstar has chosen a darker premise to exercise entertainment, fact remains it is FACT. The games content is obviously geared for 18 years and older and if adults can’t handle it they need to get out the kitchen.

Bravo. You've managed to make no fucking sense on no less than three different occasions in that blurb that you presumably call coherent speech. Brilliant.

YOU'RE A FUCKING JOKE MAN. You really need to shut the fuck up because you definitely are not the final analysis in providing solutions or answers.

Let me spell it out for you, retarded chunk of illiterate cuntdrool : What I post here is my fucking OPINION.

http://www.wordreference.com/definition/opinion

What you post here is YOUR fucking opinion. Mine and yours will not always coincide. If you don't like the idea of people having different opinions than yours, you should move to fucking China. Or are you one of the "democrats" who love democracy as long as it means that everyone follows in step and does as YOU want?

The only FACT in this matter is that Congress apparently does NOT agree with you, and DOES find fault with what Rockstar did. Everything that's posted here is speculation, ranting and plain simply passing time by people who are bored at work. Now take your fucking idiot raving out into your backyard and fucking shoot yourself like the useless mongrel you are. Or hide under your fucking tree, cowering because "I'm out to get you".

Creston

Edit : too many closing tags.

This comment was edited on Jul 26, 15:34.
Avatar 15604
81.
 
Re: oh my god.
Jul 26, 2005, 15:24
81.
Re: oh my god. Jul 26, 2005, 15:24
Jul 26, 2005, 15:24
 
Hope is the first step on the road towards disappointment.

It's better to live your life hopeful and often disappointed than hopeless and always depressed.

80.
 
Re: No subject
Jul 26, 2005, 15:23
80.
Re: No subject Jul 26, 2005, 15:23
Jul 26, 2005, 15:23
 
This is STRAIGHT BULLSHIT! WHERE HAS OUR SOCIETY GONE WHEN I CANT ENJOY A DAMN VIDEOGAME WITH AS MUCH BLOODY VIOLENCE AND SEX AS I FUCKING WANT!? WE HAVE BECOME SUCH PRUDES. AND WE CAN ALL THANK THAT ASSHOLE GEORGE BUSH FOR APPOINTING BIBLE BEATING BITCHES TO POWERFUL POSITIONS WHO WISH TO DO BATTLE aGAINST ALL THE EVILDOERS OF THE VIDEOGAME AND PORN INDUSTRY!

79.
 
Re: No subject
Jul 26, 2005, 15:21
79.
Re: No subject Jul 26, 2005, 15:21
Jul 26, 2005, 15:21
 
This whole thing reminds me of this "hidden content" http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/poster.asp

Avatar 18712
158 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 4.
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