So where is the new Gran Turismo for PS4 we all are asking? While those who own an Xbox One have been spoilt with 2 Forza’s on Microsoft’s most recent hardware, we PlayStation owners are still patiently waiting for a new Gran Turismo while the PS4 is practically 2.5 years into its life cycle. There is already talk of a beefed up PS4.5 on the horizon and more recently there are discussions about the PS5 coming sooner rather than later. With the advancement of technology, the long lasting console lifecycles we are used too may be becoming shorter in order to keep up with these tech leaps, and with this in mind can PD keep up considering their past record?
When Gran Turismo Sport/7 finally arrives in the post for PS4 is there a danger that we might even be playing an updated or new PlayStation in which case a GT on PS4 might become irrelevant for some? If you are an avid GT player, by now you will be used to waiting a long time for a new GT, and you will be familiar with broken promises and additional release delays.
Some people argue in PD’s defence, that they take longer to develop a new game to ensure its quality, and yes many developers introduce delays for this very reason but the last 2 Gran Turismo’s, and in particular GT5 have been unfished games, more like Beta’s but both games were delayed substantially and were unfinished on release and full of bugs. Standard cars anyone!!
I am unsure of the professional relationship PD has with Sony and what conditions (if any) Sony impose on PD but as Sony own PD anybody’s guess would be that Sony dictate to PD but at least on the surface it seems that PD operate according to their own desires and timelines. In this day and age, and based upon our educated assumptions of how business works, it is very hard to fathom to what motivate PD. Are they in it for the money, as we would all rightly assume, or is PD some obscure creative wing of Sony that has total creative freedom that are free from the typical monetary and time constraints of every other business? If the motivation is indeed money, then at least recently they have not scored too well, with GT5 only recently surpassing GT4 sales than, while GT6 (correct me if I am wrong) has sold 1/3 of GT5 sales and is the worst selling in the franchise!
Admittedly the release of GT6 coincided with the release of the PS4 so that can’t have helped sales, but a large part of GT6’s underachievement was that it offered little over GT5, and in some cases less and took a few steps backward. The new club/community features were a great idea, though we didn’t see them until like a year after the release of GT6, then the implementation as always with PD was poor, with vital settings and options to make fair online racing that are still largely absent to this day despite improving overtime but guess what many have moved on. I still can’t test my cars in the QM with GT6 but I could in 5, even if it came late and in an update. The approach PD has is somewhat senseless!
I just know for sure that when we do eventually play the new GT, it will be a mixed bag of fantastic and WTF!!I know I have said it before but I have a horrible feeling that we still have standard cars, and although we have been promised substantial improvements to sound, I fear that we might even have Standard sounds for some cars, and if we are lucky new and improved sounds for the premiums. It was hardly acceptable I might add on the PS3 and certainly not on powerhouse that is the PS4 but I have no confidence that the PS4 version (when it comes) will be immune to previous generation standards.
The above I can live with’ as after all we have all been conditioned for endless frustration!! As long as GT is around and KY is in charge, it will always charm us with its avant-garde approach and frustrate us endlessly at the same time. No game can please all, and there will always be those that complain but PD have a special way of frustrating it’s most loyal and avid fans! Despite myself also being conditioned for letdown, sometimes I am not sure which is the more torturing…..waterboarding or seeing a game you love and grew up with, that has endless potential to be an order of magnitude better than it is, fall very far short of its potential which is the case with GT5 and 6.
As mentioned in my 2 previous articles (Gran Turismo 7: A Rocky Road Ahead, and GT7 Too Late Out Of The Trap) which both have not been that favourable to the franchise, GT cannot depend on its future success off of the nostalgia of the 30 somethings that played the early games in their youth, as this group have either stopped playing games as they are now having families, or they are moving to other very polished franchises that never existed before while they endlessly wait for a new GT. All the while the new generations are growing up with new racing franchises that are fostering their loyalties at a young age, and like McDonald’s, if you were introduced as a child, you are more than likely to eat there when you are an adult despite burger king tasting better!!
Will it come a time that PD will no longer become a realistic going concern? As each generation of console is released, so does the budget increase to develop a new game. Big franchise game budgets now are in line with big budget Hollywood movies. With these budgets becoming so high relative to the previous generation, is selling 5 or 10 million copies for a big budget franchise still economically viable? If it is not in the case of PD, that means Sony are subsidising but how long can that realistically last? We all have heard of Grand Theft Auto……Yeah like PD they take for ever to develop a new GTA, but boy when it comes it is good, and oh boy does it sell allot!! PD’s budget to make GT5 was around 4 times less than that of GTA but GTA sold around 5 times as much as GT5, so comparatively in terms of cost vs sales they were pretty similar with the advantage being to GTA if the numbers are to be believed.
While GT5 was probably a success for PD, GT6 less so if we look at sales alone racking up just over 4 million vs over 11m for GT5. Now I assume GT6 cost less to develop than GT5, as most of the work (assume again) was achieved with 5, and always the first instalment on a new console is always the more expensive but we all still had to play GT5 for 3 years before GT6 saw light of day. That is still 3 years paying staff so I don’t for a second believe GT6 was “cheap” to develop off of the back of GT5.
Question is, was GT6 if (standalone a) a profit or a loss for PD, would be interesting to know for sure. Going back to GTA, of course it has a massive advantage of being multiplatform but because Gran Turismo isn’t, shouldn’t PD be behaving like they have much less market reach than a big budget multi-platform game like GTA, and then adjust their business model accordingly as currently I believe it is become less and less economically viable the way PD are conducting themselves.
Despite the GT franchise appearing to slip further and further back, I do not doubt that GT Sport/7 will certainly sell more than GT6, as like GT5 being the first Gran Turismo on a new console (PS3) will be a selling point alone, regardless of if the game is a worthy buy or not but even if it sells as much as GT5, will that alone be enough considering that the goal posts have moved substantially….being that it is widely agreed in the industry that game development costs on the latest consoles have gone exponentially up comparably to the previous generation. Does this now mean that big budget franchises have to sell considerably more titles to be in the black or risk being in the red if they don’t? Now we will never really know the exact numbers of what PD/Sony earn from one retail sale of GT but of course we have to consider that their gross sale looks nothing like in size numerically to PD/Sony once retailers, logistics and all of the rest take their cut from the retail price.
I am not drawing definite conclusions from the what I am saying but it seems evident that the GT franchise is losing its clout and its market share and there are new kids on the block like Project Cars and the soon to be Assetto Corsa that will no doubt further disrupt the foundations and loyal following that GT has built up largely unchallenged up until only recently. I really believe GT on the PS4 will have to be a big success for PD and Sony because if not, it just could (possibly) be the last in the franchise!! Now I know that may be a totally left field opinion (and I hear you laughing) and of course it could only ever be a possible worst case scenario but the PD bubble can’t go on for ever when the name of the game is to make money. The GT franchise has grossed 2.5 billion in its 18 or so years, that is huge, but you are only as good as your last coffee or whatever it is you produce. If a new GT is not in the black after selling its lot, then why would they make another? As much money as PD have made for Sony in the past, they are not immune, the playing field is hugely different to 18 years ago and I sincerely believe PD have to change their game plan if they are to have a long and prosperous future.
I am probably scare mongering just a tad with the whole “last in the franchise” prophecy (it makes for good interesting post comments) as that is probably very unlikely!! (More likely but still unlikely) Is a change of management to get the franchise back on track! Remember everybody has a boss, and even KY I would hope has one too!! Mr KY San you may have to watch out, in this day an age and competitive climate we live in, nobody is safe from a coup or aggressive take over as after all when every avenue has been explored it is the backsheesh and kachings ($$$) that does all of the decision making in the end.
Ok back down to planet earth, and I promise my next opinionated and speculative write up will be a positive one, as the last 2 including this are/were more than critical to PD and the franchise as a whole. I guess I am a big enough fan of the franchise be critical of the “many”shortcomings, and like an over protective parent, just want the best from my kids and look at all of the negatives rather than the positives more often than not.
PD, come on surprise us, make us all proud J
As always please comment below or take a wander over to our forums to discuss. ( I have made a new GT Sport forum) and for online racing, check our Event Forums. GT3 Club are still running GT6 events while GBRC are running PC Cars!