XXX-mas? Porn Allegedly Found on Madden Disc in Utah

December 31, 2006 -
Is there something new in the Madden playbook?

According to the Standard-Examiner, a couple in Layton, Utah reported that their 14-year-old son discovered porn on a copy of Madden 07 which he received as a Christmas gift. The boy, Kolton Mahoney, was attempting to play the Xbox 360 version.

His parents contacted Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is investigating.

As detailed by the newspaper, Kolton received the game from an uncle who purchased it several weeks ago a Circuit City location in Modesto, California. Reporter Scott Schwebke writes:
The game appears to be authentic, is embossed with a Madden NFL 07 label and came in a factory-sealed case...

The Mahoneys told Schwebke they were not seeking a financial settlement, but would like a new copy of Madden as well as a guarantee that no additional copies containing smut would be sold.

GP: It's really too early to know what to make of this one. An investigation will show whether this was an original, factory-produced disc or whether it had been altered at some point or even sold and returned.

From EA's standpoint, it will be critical to nail this down as quickly as possible. They can't afford to have such negative publicity attached to their flagship product. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff should see good cooperation from the video game industry since he's been a major supporter of the ESRB system.

Even though - if true - this would be an apparent case of vandalism at some point in the manufacturing or shipping process, we have to wonder whether proponents of video game legislation currently under consideration in Utah will seek to exploit the incident.

Comments

Re: XXX-mas? Porn Allegedly Found on Madden Disc in Utah

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GoodRidd, did they also show the case and the instruction booklet that should have come with the game?

If the family's faking it, then they'd need to go to a good deal of trouble over it. Forging the disc is one thing, but the story reported above also mentions that the game came in a factory-sealed case. That would imply an instruction manual. Beyond that, the 360 games don't come in the standard black DVD cases that are available for purchase. All those individual quirks make it tough to forge a legit-looking 360 package.

I suppose it's also possible that they bought a legit copy of the game, broke the disc, and are trying to get it replaced. That would only require printing out a new CD label.

But for those saying the family is a bunch of golddiggers: read the fricking article. They already said they don't want to sue for damages, and only want to explain their defective disc for a new one. They're not trying to finance their retirement off this. Hell, if it's legit, then EA doesn't even need to give them a full package. Just replace the play disc and be done with it.

@ MrKenyon

Now that I think about it, I think you might be absolutely right about the last thing you said. The family is probably just trying to get money. Everybody, who has ever tried to sue the video game industry, or attack it in any way, has been a golddigger.

My bullshit meter read over 100000000x bullshit on this.

reasons:

1. the kid immediately ran and told mommy and daddy - In the society we live in today, even in utah, there is not a kid out there that is entering puberty that would immediately tell mommy and daddy about porn, the kid would go hide it and view it later.

2. Nothing in terms of settlement except replacement - I'm pretty sure that if someone found pornography on a game, and told their parents, there's at the very least some bullshit "mental pain and suffering" lie a lawyer could pull for them. to only want a new copy of the game is like saying "yes, we are attention whores"

3. according to appearances, the game hadn't been opened before - if it's factory made, this has to be a lie. Factories can't exactly deviate just one version, they make the same thing over and over and over and over again. that's mass production.

4. little to no info about how the so called "pornographic images" were shown - did he just turn it on and there they were? or did he get to a menu? he doesn't even say. just 'there's porn!" which I think is too vague.

5. Contacting the government - This to me proves this is a publicity stunt. No where does anyone except the child and his parents claim to have seen the images. and in this day and age, choosing to go to the government first? wouldn't the best choice be to go to the company directly and NOT make a big fuss if all they want is another copy of the game?

6. THE FACT THAT IT GOT INTO A NEWSPAPER.

7. The kid and parents are playing dumb - They are being completely idotic. there's no way they can be innocent. if this kind of thing happened in a book, i'd call it moronic, oh wait. I'm calling it moronic now

This sort of thing can happen. I knwo a guy who has a copy of Back to the Futore 2 labeled as Back to the Future 1. Discs are first stamped with the data, then have ;labels printed on them. If some disc that had data on it, but didn't have a printed label somehow ends up goign to the wrong pritner, this is the result. It does seem odd, though. Isn't EA big enough to have their own disc-manuafacturing operations or are they really renting from a place that also does porn and has poor inventory control?

@ Phantom

The only picture of the case I saw was on the Standard examiner's website. It looks authentic enough. I can see the NFL hologram on the bottom of the case. The disc itself however is missing the hologram around the hole that my copy has. And the label on the disc is off-centered. Like what happens when you try to make your own label and print it on a home printer. I haven't seen a copy of the instructions.

With this being the only reported incident and the disc being an appearant fake but the case looking authentic, I am leaning towards the "someone bought this, replaced the disc, re-shrink wrapped it and returned it theory". I can see an employee accepting a shrink wrapped return without really inspecting it. Or maybe an employee(s) was involved.

I'll be glad if they end up banning Madden or something. There need to be less retarded sports game sequels upon sequels out there anyway. They're clogging up the market, stupid football freaks.

me, EA doesn't necessarily make the discs themselves. That could be outsourced to a facility that also makes porn.

What the parents want isn't that bad. I don't think it looks like there is a UBER ANTIVIDEOGAME CONSPIRACY here. I'd be upset if I pop in a game and got porn. I am sure someone at the police has enough brain cells to see that the kid/parents are not making it up.

I once bought a Pink Floyd CD (sealed, labeled properly and everything), but when I played it, it was Santana.

If the disc did get swapped by mistake, why was EA making porn?

@Siftr:

As much as I'd like to agree, it's quite expected that it is legitimate.

I've had two experiences with manufacturer-level defects. The first was with an OEM restore CD, which instead had some strange "business" files as if it were an internal training CD. The second was with Rune, where the disk was unreadable. While both cases had a defective batch, there was a working CD for the first case. It's also quite reasonable that a DVD somehow got swapped.

Now, the replacement request is quite reasonable (even if it is unexpected in this case). Going panicky would simply serve no purpose, especially if it is an isolated incident - and if there is a bad batch, there would be a recall by now.

Contacting the government isn't unexpected either - if something unusual like this happens, you become panicky and sometimes make unexpected decisions. For example, I purchased a pre-owned copy of Age of Empires 3 from EBGames, and panicked when I discovered that the CD key was used to create an online account. The result was an anti-piracy report sent to MS. (I did receive a replacement key - there was enough content in the package.)

Newspaper's aren't unexpected, especially in the age of tabloids and gossip.

Great, a mis pressed disk. Hopefully this will prove to be an accident or some dumb ass at the factory being cute.

Daniel,

I'm well aware of the Robida case. I'm also aware of the fact that if Jack thinks he can take advantage of a situation, he's usually on it like a fat guy on a sandwich within the first 24 hours. Considering the fact that Dennis hasn't announced that he recieved a 'press release' from Miami's Finest, it looks like even Jack has decided that this crock of a story isn't worth his time. So chill, your video games are safe from the big bad Jack for another day.

As for the rest of the updates, the disc didn't even have a hologram? I agree, this sounds like a crappy, mislabeled, bootleg disc. This whole situation sounds like some cheapass family trying to get something for nothing, and the whole situation getting blown out of proportion.

@Goodridd

If thats the case the family probably bought a flea market bootleg. They got burned and turned it around saying they bought a legit copy from Circuit City in order to get it for free. I bet they "lost" their receipt. If it didn't contain a hologram print then it wasn't printed in the assembly line. They started doing that to avoid having burned copies being sold as the real thing.

Their story sounds like BS to me.

This... isn't the first time I've heard of something like this come from EA, remember back in the day when one of the PSX Tiger Woods games came out, there was some hidden South Park clip contained on the disc? That's what this made me think of.

But yeah, you'd think this whole 'hot coffee' thing would clue companies in to make sure nobody's hiding stuff in the game without anyone knowing...

I don't see this being a problem to EA or anyone else. I doubt many people have heard about this. Or if they did, then they'll just forget it and move on. It's not that big of a deal, really. Just a mix-up or a prank.

Too many people here are getting their panties in a bunch over nothing. The game was mis-pressed on the wrong disc, which appears to have contained an actual porno movie. The family is only asking for a replacement copy with the actual game, and is not planning to sue. No politicians have rattled their sabres over this, and it's not being used to condemn the industry as a whole.

I swear, Jack Thompson's ruined a great many of you, and made you too quick to defend against even the slightest and most truthful story that could be seen as a negative by the industry.

It is obviously a fake copy. I saw the news story on http://www.abc4.com/. The picture of the disc shows that it doesn't have the hologram in the center and the label is off-center. The video was by a company called "Channel 69 Video". A quick search on google shows this company distributes some less than appealing porn, well, unappealing to me anyway. I would have at the very least vomited when that popped on my screen.

A link to the video of the story. http://www.abc4.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoID=57134. It has recently been linking to a story about an animal shelter, but you can find the story to the right of the video. It aired on Dec. 30th and was titled "Layton boy gets porn for christmas!".

Probably someone wanted to steal a copy from the CD Press, and there is a counter which makes sure as many CD's come out of the production line as go into it, so, for a laugh, they replaced the CD with a Porn CD. If it happened between the burning and labelling stages, that'd explain why it had the label etc.

I doubt EA were particuarly involved other than the fact it was their CD's that were being run when it happened, CD burning services are usually outsourced.

@me
most companies don't actually press the disc themselves, there are other companies out there that can do it cheaper than if EA started doing it themselves.

@Anon Man
1. Aren't we trying to avoid legislation when it comes to video games, and just cause you don't like a game, doesn't mean others don't.

Alright, Daniel. Calm down, and take a deep breath. First off, from the sounds of things, this was just a copy of a porno that happened to get the Madden label slapped on it. There's not porn IN the game.

Second of all, though this is a bit more nitpicky, Madden is far from a kid's game. A good deal of people I know play the Madden series, not just kids.

Seriously. It was probably just a mistake. Jack Thompson's not gonna get you. Settle down, and drink your juice.

Back on topic, though, yeah, this was probably all just an issue with labeling. Not the first time it's happened, right? Considering the folks just want a non-humpy version of the disc, I'm sure EA should jump right on that to save any PR issues.

the ICAC? How does the Internet fit into this?

Oh CRAP! Just as the video game industry was getting over Hot Coffee in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, another game has to have pornography! Only this time, it's worse because Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was already thought to be an adults game but this time, it's a children's game with pornography. Jack Thompson and Hillary Clinton are going to have a great time with this one. This SUCKS.

So this is how EA makes the same game every year and still gets huge sales, eh?

It sounds to me like this is the work of a rogue employee at the plant where they make the DVDs. It probably wouldn't be too hard to switch out the information on the disc with anything you want... bring in a porn on a thrid shift and burn it to a couple of games... instant FU to a company you don't like.

The article says the disc looked authentic, that sounds like it isn't just a simple swap with a porn and then return to the store. They also got it from Circuit city, which doesn't sell used games in my knowledge.

Probably an employee prank

Why do I have a feeling this is about as phony as that woman who found a finger in her Wendy's chili? I guess I'll just take a 'wait and see' attitude towards this until some more details surface.

This story lacks too many detaisl to definitively know what it's even claiming. If it were a porn disc in there with or instead fo Madden, my guess woudl be prank or mistake at the packing facility, resealedreturn or kid got caught with porn and had to think of something fast. If they're claimign porn actually on the Madden disc, I'm going with lie.

The difference between this and the infamous chili finger case is that the family, at this point, is just asking for a new copy of the game. If it was a finger in the chili, this would have already ballooned into some insane multi-million dollar lawsuit. I think an exchange of the disk is a very decent request and EA should honor it with a new disk and a letter of apology.

More details at Joystiq:

http://www.joystiq.com/2006/12/31/xxx-madden-gag-spoils-kids-xmas/

Apparently, there was a porn DVD with a Madden label on it. This would be a screw-up at the manufacturing facility. A stamped disc went through the wrong printer. I've occasionally seen this with video DVDs, but I have yet to receive porn.

I think the key detail people are glancing over is that this is in Utah. But first, let's eliminate some surface level explanations:

1) The game really does contain porn. - I would reject this outright seeing as Madden is the most widely played game on earth. Madden super-fans play that thing 8 hours a day trying to max out every stat and exploit every game play tactic. They would have found this a long time ago. The odds that one 14 year old stumbled on it the first time are infinitesimal.

2) The game disc was replaced by a hoax disc. - I'll half reject this. It has some likely explanations, but also some holes. Microsoft factory seals have break apart foils. If somebody had tampered with the disc, the foils would be noticeably ripped. Major retails stores just send those back to the manufacturer rather than deal with them on their end. If the reporter had shown this to a store employees or manager, they would have noticed it in half a second to absolve themselves of blame. On top of this, Xbox 360 discs are locked. Without a boot loader or dev kit, it would be exceptionally difficult to reproduce a game disc with porn loaded into it (unless they just encoded it as a video DVD).

So I come back to my original theory: Utah. Layton is in far north Utah, which happens to be very conservative and very Morman. My guess would be that one of the loading videos an screens involved some NFL cheerleaders in risque outfits. The mom saw it and had a knee jerk reaction, called it porn, and the fury that is a moral crusader mom was on.

But again, it's hard to tell. Journalists (GP excluded) tend to have a problem using correct terminology when relating to video games and technology. A phrase like "on the video game" to most of us implies that is was loaded into the video game code on the disc. To people without a clue about the subject, they might use that phrase to describe any disc in a video game box. It would probably be an interesting endeavor to look back a many of the video game scandals and see what effects any of the misreportings have had.

Maybe I'm having difficulty judging the length of time in my memory, but I swear I've read four or five stories this week about something unexpectedly having porn in it. 1) this madden disc, 2) a Personal Computer that was sold as used, 3) a Zune, and I coulda sworn there were two others.

@ MrKenyon

I'm saying that Jack Thompson might use this as an excuse to attack the video game industry. He attacked it one time when a crazy man, named Jacob Robida, went crazy and killed a bunch of people and then himself. He blamed that off on the video game industry even though there was no evidence that Jacob Robida ever even played video games. He harrassed people constantly to link the two. Read about that case on the internet and you will see how much he likes to attack the video game industry. He'll eat this up like candy.

Well considering that they are looking for a new copy of the game, I'm guessing that the CD was somehow swapped for a porn disc. I think the article's assumption that the game was sold and returned is most likely. Someone bought the game, opened the box carefully without breaking the seal, swapped the CD and then returned it as an "unopened" box. Then the store put it back on display, not suspecting anything was wrong.

Just as people continue to claim the APA studies found causal links to violence (despite the APA clearly stating that they didn't)...

Just as people continue to claim that Hot Coffee was hardcore porn (despite the true description of what it was by people like GamerDad among many others)....

Just as politicians and other continue to claim that players can "rape" NPCs in video games (even though no commercial games sold in brick and mortar retailers in the US have such a capability and said persons have never named such games)....

Just as there are those who have spread the claim that there is "gay sex" in the video game Bully (even though the only same gender initmate act is a kiss, an act which is not illegal even in real life in public anywhere in the US, whether done by homosexuals OR heterosexuals)...

Rest assured, that even if it is PROVEN beyond doubt, shadow or otherwise, that ANY material even vaugely resembling "porn" in said game was actually a single event caused by an individual with malicious intent not associated to the creating or programming of the game, you can be sure that those individuals, organizations, and government officials will ignore said fact and continue, for years to come, to claim that it was the companies fault and intent that said material be included in the game. They will also use said claims as "evidence" of "mentally molesting children" and will demand that only games reviewed by them and approved by them are the only "appropriate" games for other people's children.

Donch'a just LOVE people and organizations with personal/religious/political agendas?

nightwng2000
NW2K Software

Well, this is utah, so when they say "porn" they might mean "you can see the cheerleader's ankles".

Either way, very dubious.

yeah, I am having difficulty with it as well.

I would think an investigation could pretty quickly determine whether the disc had been tampered with.

Too much has happened since the box left EA to take this claim seriously. I admit there's lack of detail here, but the game was definitely opened at some point prior to the reporting of porn found in the Madden box. If it's porn instead of the game disc, it's a ridiculous and frivilous lawsuit, as anyone who had access to the box could have swapped it, including the recipient. If it's the game disc label on a porn disc, that really does need to be tracked down, but EA is the absolute LAST suspect on that list.

It's not Madden naked is it?
-shudder-

What a bizarre story. And I agree with "me" in that if this was in a way a real problem it would have been August's biggest story and with Dennis in that this story should end soon.

But that doesn't mean we won't keep hearing about it folks. I did a big Media Tour last week for Christmas and the two big questions I kept getting from radio people were:

1. Why did they put hardcore porn in Grand Theft Auto?
-So I had to explain "orphaned code" and how it wasn't intentional and how what Hot Coffee is isn't "hardcore porn" and how it's really less offensive than Team America World Police's infamous marionette sex scene.

2. Why are all the Wii controllers breaking televisions?
-I still don't know how people are losing their grip, but it's also hardly "all" of them. I've played bowling with about fifteen 3-12 year olds and nobody has ever lost their grip on the controller.

Now I'm looking forward to the Madden Porn questions. Sigh.

I have a hard time believing this. There are a lot of hardcore Madden players who would have found this long ago, as it seems the porn wasn't hidden, like Hot coffee.

I wish they'd give a little more detail. Was it porn embedded in an actual Madden game, or was it a totally separate porn disc?

@darktetsuya - good point regarding the South Park clip on Tiger Woods for the original PlayStation.

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Well considering that they are looking for a new copy of the game, I’m guessing that the CD was somehow swapped for a porn disc. I think the article’s assumption that the game was sold and returned is most likely. Someone bought the game, opened the box carefully without breaking the seal, swapped the CD and then returned it as an “unopened” box. Then the store put it back on display, not suspecting anything was wrong.
 
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