The IEMA (Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association) issued a statement last night stating its members, "intend to immediately cease all sales of the game until existing inventory can either be re-stickered with an AO (Adults Only) rating, or exchanged for new versions of the game that has the hidden content removed and the original M (Mature 17+) rating intact." Considering the list of IEMA members includes most of the big guns in retail game sales (Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, Circuit City, Target and K-Mart, to name a few), Take Two should begin to feel the financial strain today. Companies which are not members of the IEMA, like Best Buy, have also decided to follow suit, as its their policy to not carry "AO" rated games, just as its their policy to not carry "X" rated DVDs.
Still, even with these potentially damaging moves by video game retailers, CNN/Money's Chris Morris asks, "Why not a fine?". Morris claims, in order for Take Two to really take a financial hit, "retailers will have to return the game, rather than exchange copies for the modified version which will be available in the coming weeks." Since retailers seem to have taken the latter option (they're not stupid, as they know this game sells), Morris claims Take Two will barely feel this slap on the wrist. He then points to a suggestion from a video game designer/blogger, who offered up the option of the ESRB refusing to rate any Take Two video games for two years. I have to say, I, too, am a fan of that idea. First, IEMA retailers won't allow unrated games in their stores. Second, it would show politicians the ESRB has the cojones necessary to regulate this sneaky little industry.