The other shoe has dropped in the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "Hot Coffee" controversy.
Today, Take-Two Interactive issued a statement announcing that, as a result of an investigation by the ESRB, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will now carry the AO (Adults Only) rating, instead of the previous M-rating.
Many large retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, have policies against stocking games with the AO rating, and many locations have already begun to pull the PS2, Xbox, and PC versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas off store shelves.
In its statement, Take-Two Interactive noted that it will cease manufacturing and shipment of the current version of the game. The company is currently working on an updated version without the "hot coffee" content, and plans to ship that modified version (which will carry an M-Rating) by September.
Meanwhile, in a statement posted to the ESRB web site, Patricia Vance, president of the organization weighed in with their official conclusion. "We have concluded that sexually explicit material exists in a fully rendered, unmodified form on the final discs of all three platform versions of the game."
Vance's statement goes on to say that "the ESRB will now require all game publishers to submit any pertinent content shipped in final product even if is not intended to ever be accessed during game play, or remove it from the final disc."
Fallout from the "hot coffee" controversy is sure to continue for weeks to come. Take-Two informed Wall Street to expect lower net sales and higher net losses for the current quarter and fiscal year. Also, a spokesperson for the company said that the company is considering taking legal action against the companies that make console cheat devices such as the GameShark and Action Replay.
For a full recap of PSX Extreme's coverage of the "hot coffee" story, check out our previous stories: