NEWS - Tuesday, November 5, 2002


Acclaim to Edit Nudity

Acclaim Entertainment Inc. on Monday said it would release a cleaned-up version of its controversial video game "BMX XXX," editing out nudity that had prompted a boycott by major retailers. Glen Cove, New York-based Acclaim said the version for Sony Corp.’s leading PlayStation 2 console would be released Nov. 15. In the edited version of the game, players will be unable to create topless female characters for the stunt-bike sequences, Acclaim spokesman Alan Lewis told Reuters. "BMX XXX" has incited controversy because of its content, which includes strippers, pimps and coarse language and features the tagline "Keep It Dirty." Some of the nation’s leading retailers have said they will not carry the game because of the subject matter, although Best Buy Co. Inc. said last month it would consider selling an edited PS2 version. Unedited versions of the game for Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox and Nintendo Co. Ltd.’s GameCube will still be available, the company said. The Xbox version also launching Nov. 15 and the GameCube version closer to the end of the month. All three versions had been scheduled for a Nov. 19 launch. "I would say that the distribution continues to expand," Acclaim Chief Executive Gregory Fischbach told Reuters. "The distribution on it is pretty good." Fischbach said the game will still have distribution through major specialty game retailers and music and video retail chains. So far major retailers have not suggested that they would roll back on their initial decision not to carry the game, he said. In reporting its fiscal fourth-quarter results in October, Acclaim said its results for the current quarter might be hurt by limited distribution for the game. Changes to the game for the edited Sony version were "done with good taste and in humor," like the decision to place the title "BMX XXX" in black lettering over the tops of the previously nude women, Fischbach said. Fischbach said the game was no more extreme in its use of language, violence or any other adult behavior than Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.’s smash hit "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," which launched last week and is expected to be the best-selling game of 2002. Both titles carry "Mature" ratings from the Entertainment Software Rating Board, meaning they are not intended for children under the age of 17. "The success of ’Vice City’ made everybody kind of pay attention," Fischbach said. "When you kind of look at the two games, there’s a great deal of similarities between them." Acclaim shares were up 8.1 percent at $1.34 in afternoon trade on Nasdaq. The shares are off 35 percent since a Sept. 19 profit warning and are off 75 percent for the year.
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