Gran Turismo Sport to take Virtual Reality mainstream

Chris Stead 24 May 2016

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Legendary PlayStation series debuts on the PS4 with full virtual reality support on 16 November.

Gran Turismo is one of the prize jewels in Sony’s crown. A mainstay of the PlayStation era, developer Polyphony Digital released the first game exclusively to Sony’s original console in late 1997 and, over the course of five sequels and a handful of spin-offs, it has sold a massive 76.5 million copies. Gran Turismo is considered a system seller – the kind of game people buy a PlayStation to play. For many, it can be the only game they own.

Today Sony announced that the next game in the series, Gran Turismo Sport, will be releasing on 16 November 2016. As always it’s a big deal. Famed for its super-realistic visuals, detailed vehicles, centimetre-perfect circuits and spot-on handling, it’s frightening close to the real thing. In fact, players of the game have successfully graduated to real racing championships – it’s that close.

While not touted as a full sequel – a Gran Turismo 7 is still on the horizon – Gran Turismo Sport isn’t short on content. If the opportunity to play the game on a console with the most powerful processor and graphics engine to date isn’t enough, the ridiculous number of cars and tracks should get you excited. However, there are two brand new additions to the series that are worth particularly deeper discussion.

The first is the recognition of its online multiplayer leagues by the FIA (Federation International Automobile), the highest governing body in international motorsports. It brings the burgeoning eSports scene to a whole new level, effectively putting gamers side-by-side with the sport’s real-world stars. As you play online, you will be competing for your nation and for the manufacturers in a global league that is officially sanctioned by the sport. Quite incredibly, really.

Second, and perhaps more important, is virtual reality support. In October, PlayStation VR will launch globally and debut Sony’s foray into the virtual reality space. Within a month, Gran Turismo Sport will follow with full virtual reality support. It’s no mistake the two are releasing so close together and Polyphony Digital has already gone on record by saying that Gran Turismo Sport will have no beta as it would add three months to the development time.

Fans of Polyphony Digital will be painfully aware that the developer has never let “hitting a release date” get in the way of its plans – but here we are. So what’s doing?

Given the sales history of Gran Turismo over the years and the role it has played in helping Sony sell hardware into the marketplace, having the next game in the series land before Christmas, partnered with its shiny new virtual reality headset, is a deliberate and smart play.

The main competition for the PlayStation VR headset – the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – are expensive, cumbersome and (for many countries) difficult to acquire devices. In comparison, the PlayStation VR is an attractive choice. While not the most powerful of the three virtual reality headsets, it’s still incredibly fun. And more importantly, it works with a PS4 and does not require an upgraded high-end PC to function. Plus, from a gaming perspective, it will be well-supported by Sony and its partner developers.

This Christmas, while Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, are serving early adopters and tech geeks with brilliant - make no mistake - but hard-to-market devices, Sony will come out with a PS4 + PlayStation VR bundle. Then a few weeks later, a new entry in its most popular mainstream exclusive series. And in doing so, it has the best chance of the three of taking virtual reality to the masses – at least in the short term while prices remain so high.

We invite you to take a look at our deeper comparison of the virtual reality headsets.

Gran Turismo Sport Australian Release Date and Pricing

Gran Turismo Sport will arrive on the PlayStation 4 in Australian on November 16, 2016. There have been three editions of the game announced thus far, and all of them are available for pre-order now. There are pre-order bonuses, in terms of car packs available at launch, and they are retailer specific. Here are the available editions;

Gran Turismo Sport Collector’s Edition – RRP $199.95AUD
  • Includes an exclusive miniature model of the Mercedes-AMG GTS
  • A detailed car lover's guide
  • $2,500,000 in game credits
  • Livery sticker packs
  • Three pre-order packs
  • Chrome racing helmet
  • 60 PS4 avatars
  • Steel book case
  • Special packaging

GT-SPORT

Gran Turismo Sport Steel Book Edition – RRP $119.95 AUD
  • Exact contents to be decided, likely:
  • Includes $500,000 in game credits
  • Livery Sticker Packs
  • Chrome Racing Helmet
  • 60 PS4 Avatars
  • Steel book case
  • Special Packaging
Gran Turismo Sport Bonus Edition – RRP $99.95AUD
  • Includes $250,000 in game credits
  • Livery Sticker Packs
  • Chrome Racing Helmet
  • 60 PS4 Avatars

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