December 23, 1997 is the date the first Gran Turismo game was released on a PlayStation console. There has been a lot of progress and growth since then, leading up to the franchise’s 25th anniversary, so Sony Interactive Entertainment and Polyphony Digital look favorably on their collaboration.
In addition to a lengthy personal letter from Polyphony Digital CEO Kazunori Yamauchi, the two parties also posted a collaborative video message, thanking fans and the community for their trust and dedication to the franchise. The blog post on the PlayStation website containing these gestures of gratitude also reveals that more than 90 million customers have held their hands on a Gran Turismo delivery in their lifetime, saying:
Over the past 25 years, the series’ cumulative sales total has reached more than 90 million copies as of November 16, 2022. And this result is something we couldn’t achieve alone.
PlayStation rarely offers specific sales figures, but acknowledging the success the GT franchise has brought them must be a good reason.
Polyphony Digital’s last update was in May 2018 when they reported that 80.4 million copies of the game had been sold. That means that approximately 10 million copies of Gran Turismo Sport and Gran Turismo 7 have been sold in the last four and a half years. With estimates of 5 to 6 million copies of GT7 sold during these three quarters, it would already equal the reported lifetime sales of GT6. The Polyphony Digital development team isn’t even stopping there, as the studio has released two major updates in the last ten weeks in honor of the anniversary.
The first of these free updates came out in September and included three new cars, a new race track, and several new features. The latest one, meanwhile, launched last week and introduced five new cars, including a Ferrari Vision GT concept car. The updates were more than welcomed by the player base, considering that the new features were all free.
After originally being released in 1997 for the PlayStation 1, Gran Turismo became one of the premier titles on the PlayStation. From the moment it was released in its native Japan, Gran Turismo has kept pace with the ever-evolving technology of PlayStation hardware. As Yamauchi pointed out, none of this would be possible without the hard work of the ever-growing team at Polyphony Digital. He revealed that the team behind the first iteration of the game consisted of three engineers and two part-time artists.
“From there, the number of Comrades has continued to grow for more than a quarter of a century and has grown into Polyphony Digital today, a company with more than 200 employees.”
Yamauchi also mentioned that his film ambitions in his early days of collaborating with Sony might have pushed him in a different direction, but that he is “very lucky” to have realized his first project plan out of the hundreds he had in mind when he started his career.
“I think the Gran Turismo series has always been looking for ‘beauty’. The beauty of the cars, the beauty of the scenery, the beauty of the lighting, the beauty of the driving, the beauty of the sounds/music and the beauty of the graphics,” writes Yamauchi as his quest for beauty continues with Gran Turismo.
Gran Turismo 7 is widely considered to be one of the best entries in the series and will most likely propel the franchise to close to 100 million units before it gets a sequel. Racing fans can also look forward to the live-action adaptation in August.
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