Shares in troubled “Grand Theft Auto” publisher Take Two Interactive plunged 15% Tuesday after the company was served with subpoenas related to the inclusion of pornographic content in the game last year, as well as to certain financial activity.
News led to warnings from analysts and the fall of the New York-based company’s stock below its 52-week low.
Take Two removed the so-called “Hot Coffee” scene, in which a woman performs oral sex, from new versions of the game last year after the Entertainment Software Ratings Board rerated “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” to Adults Only, the vidgame equivalent of NC-17.
The subpoenas, which seem to focus primarily on whether and when Take Two execs were aware of the explicit content and their disclosure of it, are only the latest in a series of problems for the company caused by “Hot Coffee,” which could be accessed only via a software patch downloaded from the Internet.
“Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” has drawn scrutiny from politicians targeting the videogame industry, such as Sens. Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman, and the company recently settled a Federal Trade Commission investigation and is the target of a lawsuit by the Los Angeles city attorney.
Take Two Shares closed at $10.85 on Tuesday.