Monday, September 25, 2006

TGS 2006: Gran Turismo For Cheap.

Bummed about Sony's micro transaction plans for Gran Turismo HD? Well this news might soften the blow just a bit. Japan's Impress Watch games site reports that, in comments made to the Japanese press, series producer Kazunori Yamauchi revealed that Sony plans to make GT HD available for the cost of the game disk and instruction manual. This suggests a retail price point of just a few dollars for the first PS3 Gran Turismo game.

This form of distribution is not new in the online gaming world. The PC version of Swing Golf Panya, for instance, is available for free. All monetary transactions coming when players purchase items. The PC title has thus far been a big success.

GT HD will include two main modes of play, Sony revealed earlier this week. Classic mode is basically Gran Turismo 4 running in 1080p along with a few other visual enhancements. The focus of this mode is on online play. Players race one-another online and purchase cars and tracks for a few dollars each. This mode won't include any courses and tracks from the start.

In comparison, those who want a more offline-oriented experience will be able to try out Premium mode. In addition to offering an early glimpse at the Gran Turismo 5 graphics engine (the actual GT5 won't be released until 2008), this mode will include 30 cars and 2 brand-new tracks right out of the box.

Sony clarified at TGS that Premium mode itself will have downloads. Players will be able to download 30 additional cars and a couple of additional tracks at the time of the game's release. The timing of these downloads suggests that they will not be free.

Development on Gran Turismo HD is currently at the 70% mark. A Japanese release is set for December.


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