Australia Shelves 'Grand Theft Auto'

Take-Two will be unable to sell the game there.
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Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) - Get Report said Friday that an Australian regulatory body has revoked its classification for the company's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game, making the title unmarketable in that country.

Take-Two said it had been expecting the decision by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification. The financial impact will not alter recently announced guidance, the company said.

Last week, Take-Two announced it was halting production of current versions of the game in response to the discovery of steamy sex scenes that can be unlocked on the game with software available on the Internet. A U.S. ratings board changed its rating on the game from "mature" to "adults only," and Take-Two slashed its financial outlook.

The Federal Trade Commission announced this week that it would

hold an investigation as to whether Take-Two had intentionally deceived the Entertainment Software Ratings Board in order for the game to receive its initial "mature rating."

In announcing its decision on Friday, the Australian classification office said "the content unlocked by a third party 'hot coffee' modification contained material that could not be accommodated at the (prior) MA15+ classification."

Take-Two added that the rating of the game in Europe won't be affected by this decision or the recent ESRB re-rating in the U.S.

Following the announcement, shares of Take-Two gained about 1% in after-hours trading to $24.86 on Instinet.