New Gran Turismo - no cars or courses? Has Sony finally lost the plot?
Eh? Ok, ok, so it is just a rumour - based on a forum translation (hmmm...) of an interview with Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the best car racing game ever, Gran Turismo. But, it seems so bonkers at first glance that...well, let me explain.
It's claimed Gran Turismo for the forthcoming PlayStation 3 Sony games console - already troubled - is going to come initially in two versions. The first of these, Gran Turismo HD: Premium, is pretty much a just a demo for GT 5 proper, containing a measly 30 cars and only two (two!) tracks, with two more courses and 30 additional cars available only via download. The second, Gran Turismo HD: Classic, is a specced-up edition of the last PS2 GT release - except, they've taken away all the cars and race circuits. Instead you're supposed to purchase these from Sony, using the 'microtransaction' system built into the Sony online network.
In the great world wide web, some are embracing such a concept - and I can sort of see the appeal, like virtual card collecting, only using real money - while others are claiming it's merely 'an entertaining vilification of the microtransaction and nothing more'. The skepticism is based soundly on the cost, figuring it likely to be in excess of $400 to complete the set, so to speak - and that's at the low-end of the scale. The PS3 is already predicted to be ultra expensive. I guess it would be total genius if Sony could get the scheme to work...
The download element is likely to exist in some form - simply because it will allow the games' producers and even car manufacturers to add to the available rolling stock as new models are created, as well as offer additional courses. There's even talk of limited releases on some vehicles, which frankly I find rather enthralling. Can you imagine how much these will start going for on eBay? (And, I'm not joking.)
But the concept of a racing game you can't actually play straight out of the box? Seems pretty unlikely to me.
Dubious Rumour: Gran Turismo HD to ship without cars or tracks @ joystiq
Gran Turismo HD: Classic - the first driving game without cars? @ APC Magazine
Gran Turismo to be sold without cars? @ Fragland.net
Beyond3d Forum thread [the rumour originator?]
Gran Turismo World [official site]
Gran Turismo (video game) @ Wikipedia
Kazunori Yamauchi @ Wikipedia
PlayStation Global [official PS site]
PlayStation 3 [official PS3 site]
Picture from Gran Turismo World downloads page.