Cost of FIA Gran Turismo digital license could exceed $300 per year
The pathway to being a real race driver is as clear as mud with Gran Turismo Sport only a week out from launch.
If you love your race simulations, there’s no doubt that at some point you’ve dreamt of being a professional driver. Perhaps you’ve done some recreational karting or even gone to a few race days with your own vehicle. But for most of us, it is games like Gran Turismo that we turned to for a taste of life in the fast lane.
When Kazunori Yamauchi, founder of developer Polyphony Digital, told finder.com.au that he isn’t planning on doing Gran Turismo 7, it took some fans by surprise. It also made some fans upset when they looked deeper into its replacement – or its evolution, to be more accurate – Gran Turismo Sport, coming to PS4 on October 18. The new direction for the campaign, with its focus on eSports, may not be the style of experience fans have come to expect, but it’s not a shell of its former self either.
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In fact, it’s a tonne of fun to play and looks a treat – you can read our in-depth hands-on for more detail - but there’s quality everywhere you look. It’s the end game that I want to focus in on here: that’s the ability to earn a real racing license. Polyphony Digital has teamed up with the FIA – the global governing body of motorsport – to set the game up in such a manner where those who complete its challenges and race online with the required safety and etiquette expected of a professional racer, can get the green light to race for real.
This is achieved through the FIA Gran Turismo Digital Licence, which is acknowledged by the FIA as suitable for motorsport. If you have it, and your actual driver’s license, then you’re good to go.
What hasn’t been made clear at all, however, is how much this special FIA Gran Turismo Digital License will cost. When you are certified to receive it, it becomes available from the in-game shop, but it’s not an in-game purchase. It’s a real purchase. A real license gets made at your country’s FIA affiliated motorsport body and gets sent to you real postal address. That will not be free.
I asked Yamauchi himself to explain the process for an Australian player when I met with him in Polyphony Digital’s Tokyo office last month. He pointed out that you first have to clear a number of modes and then race online. “Once you’ve run a number of races and cleared their prerequisites for safety, then you become eligible to purchase the FIA Gran Turismo Digital Licence within the store. So you go into the in-game store, buy the license, and then CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) will issue you with their racing license.”
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So how much will this FIA Gran Turismo Digital License cost?
While each country’s pricing differs depending on local exchange rates and taxes, I specifically explored what CAMS is offering Australians -it’s quite confusing at first glance. What we know is that in order to do any basic State-level racing in Australia you need at least a Provisional Clubman Circuit (PCC) license at $300 per year. If you want to race in earnest – like V8 Supercars - you’re looking at a National Circuit (NC) license which is $480 per year. An International Circuit license is between $1460 and $1830 per year, depending on your category.
It’s true that the FIA Gran Turismo Digital License is not on this schedule of fees at the time of writing. It could be less, but I doubt it. It’s a real-world license, and these are the real world costs of owning one. I have asked Sony for comment, and was told that “we aren’t talking about that yet.”
I also called CAMS and the representative on the license hotline at the national head office was aware of the license but didn’t think CAMS was issuing it and that it was instead coming directly from the FIA. When I pointed out that was not what the creator told me, he was surprised. He said it is possible, but had no expectation of it being ready for the launch of the game. He advised me that if that were so, he would have expected to have been told about it by now. He did put me through to a higher up for clarification, but they declined to call back.
It’s not a massive surprise that CAMS isn't ready to issue licenses on launch day. No one will earn the license in the game during the first week or so you would think that CAMS and Polyphony Digital have some time up their sleeves. In fact, knowing Gran Turismo as a series, it could take even dedicated players months.
But it is still a little odd that a week out from launch, the CAMS licensing hotline hasn’t been briefed on it. Perhaps, as it is purchased through the game, it’s all automated and they are hands off?
Does this news change anything for gamers? It shouldn’t, other than knowing that being committed to finishing the end game is being truly committed. If you want to go racing, it’ll cost you a fair bit more than any other end game I can think of (whales not included). But surely you knew that already. Racing isn’t a poor man’s sport. It’s just curious that Sony hasn’t come out with any further information on the finer details of acquiring the license. It is Gran Turismo Sport’s massive point of difference after all.
Hopefully, we’ll hear more soon. And hopefully, some Aussie doesn’t get certified in the first 48-hours for their FIA Gran Turismo Digital License.