Hackers are responsible for a downloadable modification that enables sexually explicit minigames to be played in the blockbuster criminal adventure video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," the game's maker said on Wednesday.

The modification, which allows simulated sex in the personal computer version of one of the most popular and controversial video games in history, has led to an investigation by the industry ratings board. It also has intensified criticism of the industry that pulled in $7.3 billion in U.S. software sales in 2004.

Some critics are calling for the game's rating to be changed from "M" (Mature 17+) to the rare "AO" (Adult Only), which would threaten to crimp sales at large retail outlets.

Gaming enthusiasts have been buzzing about the modification, dubbed "hot coffee" for weeks. Video clips identified as representing the modified minigame can be found on some gaming enthusiast Web sites.

"We have learned that the 'hot coffee' modification is the work of a determined group of hackers who have gone to significant trouble to alter scenes in the official version of the game," Rockstar Games, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., said in a statement.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board last week launched a probe into whether the sexual minigames were deliberately hidden in the game code and unlocked by the "hot coffee" modification -- or if they are solely the result of the modification.

"Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" got its "M" rating for blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content and drug use.

Sex is suggested in the official version of the game, but does not happen on screen.

Players who download the "hot coffee" modification from the Internet can make a male character engage in various sex acts with a virtual "girlfriend."

The "hot coffee" modification, which violates the game's software user agreement, is the result of hackers disassembling and then combining, recompiling and altering the game's source code, Rockstar said.

Rockstar added that the "hot coffee" scenes could not be created without intentional and significant technical modifications and reverse engineering of the game's source code... (Continued Here)


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