Friday, December 01, 2006

The future has been delayed

You may recall a previous post here regarding Sony and the flagship racing game for the Playstation 3, Gran Tourismo.
The reasons it was so newsworthy was the concept that it would be released without the selection of 400 cars previous games had featured, and instead you could select which cars you wanted to buy.
Maybe it was a bit pre-emptive:

"November 30, 2006 - Sony and Polyphony Digital's experiment in download-based gaming has come to an early end. Sony announced today that it has cancelled the retail release of Gran Turismo HD in favor of a full-fledged Gran Turismo 5 product."

Excerpt taken from

There will be a free download of a Gran Tourismo HD demo of some sort, but any features considered worth keeping will be in GT5. It could be a sign that Sony has realised the effort it's taken for Microsoft to own online console gaming and transactions, or it could be a sign that despite the experience of develoeprs Polyphony Digital, they were being stretched just that bit too thin.

Either way, the fact the 5th installment is being describe as an "Online Car Life Simulator", rather than the "Real Driving Simulator" of previous games has been undermined somewhat by the arrival of Test Drive Unlimited for the Xbox 360 a couple of months ago, which has already had two packs of extra cars available for sale at around £3-4 each.

I'm searching for figures, but indications still suggest that the market for add-ons for specific games only work for a very select number of very, very popular games, as most have faded by the time downloads are available. The big draw for the Xbox 360 is Xbox Live Arcade, with complete vintage arcade games and modern games which offer quick excitement for between £4-£10.

And fromt he feedback I've had, it seems like the 360 is scooping up the more hardcore online gamers, while the Nintendo Wii has the interest of those looking for something different. It remains to see how much of the mass market are still around and waiting when the PS3 finally arrives in the UK, and until then, all we have to guage excitement is a huge number of Chinese people paid to queue inf ront of Japanese department stores.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?