Take-Two has announced that it has finally settled all consumer class action lawsuits related to the hidden 'Hot Coffee' modification for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
, pending court approval, with the company spending up to $2.75 million in costs and payments to affected consumers.
According to an official statement by Take-Two, which has been undergoing major changes since an April 2007 executive change
via hostile shareholder takeover:
"If the proposed settlement receives preliminary and final approval from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, all claims in these lawsuits will be dismissed without any admission of liability or wrongdoing by Take-Two or Rockstar."
Under the terms of the settlement, class members will be able to claim benefits if they swear that they: (a) bought a copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
before July 20, 2005; (b) were offended and upset by the ability of consumers to modify and alter the game's content using the third-party Hot Coffee modification; (c) would not have bought the game had they known that consumers could modify and alter the game's content using the third-party Hot Coffee modification; and (d) would have returned the game, upon learning the game could be modified and altered, if they thought this possible.
According to Take-Two, settlement class members who attest to these facts may apply for benefits that range from an exchange of the game disk for an edited copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
to a cash payment of up to $35 for consumers who submit detailed proofs of purchase.
The actual value of all cash payments under the settlement will depend on the number of class members that apply for benefits. Take-Two has committed to spend at least $1.025 million on settlement benefits, and the settlement generally caps the defendants' out-of-pocket costs at no more than $2.75 million, in addition to the costs of providing notice to class members and paying a fee to plaintiffs' counsel.
"If the case had continued, we believe the court would have agreed that Take-Two was not liable for consumers acting independently to modify their games with third-party hardware and software to access normally inaccessible content," said Ben Feder, Chief Executive Officer of Take-Two. "Nonetheless, we believe it is in the best interest of the Company to avoid protracted and costly litigation to prove our case and to finally put this matter behind us."