Financial News

  • 19 May 2013, 17:32

Gran Turismo Wants To Build Real-Life Racer

Video game Gran Turismo could be set to give big brand car makers a run for their money.

At a special event to celebrate the title's 15th anniversary, its creator said he hopes the brand will eventually build its own car.

"We have big dreams and I think one of those dreams is maybe one day making an actual car," Kazunori Yamauchi told Sky News.

Speaking at the Silverstone circuit, the game designer and former racing driver said he has worked more closely with car manufacturers in recent years.

"As we made series after series, our relationship got closer and closer," he said.

"Now we're at a point where we know when the newest cars are going to be released by the manufacturers sometimes two or three years prior to the rest of the world.

"We've even gone as far as becoming involved in the design and concepts of these cars."

"I think this kind of relationship is going to evolve and become closer in the future."

When Gran Turismo 6 is launched at the end of this year, developers promise it will be their most authentic driving experience yet.

With global sales of the franchise recently exceeding 70 million, manufacturers have become increasingly keen to support the game.

Darren Cox, global motorsport director at Nissan, said Gran Turismo's success initially took many people by surprise.

"I don't think anyone in the motor industry realised that when this type of gaming started, it would mushroom into such an industry," he said. "It really has been an incredible journey."

Nissan's involvement with Gran Turismo includes a collaboration with the game's creator on one of their top-end racers.

"Yamauchi actually designed the control system for our GTI super car, so it was a real blurring between the gaming community and the real world," he said.

"We've now taken it one step further with the GT Academy, where we take the best (players) and turn them into Nissan racing drivers. That's the final step from gaming into reality - and they're fast drivers as well."

Justin Pearse, a communications expert, said many manufacturers now realise the importance of reaching out to the gaming market.

"Advertising has completely changed," he said. "To engage with their potential customers, especially the hard-to-reach younger generation, (companies) have to be involved in these new forms of entertainment, including console gaming."

He added: "To be a part of a hugely successful game like this gives them a chance to talk to consumers."

Some 1,200 cars will feature in the game's next edition, from historic classics to the latest designs from manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti.

Anthony Ireson, marketing director at Ford, said brands are keen to help the game create an accurate depiction of their vehicles.

"We make sure they have access to the cars so they can scan them and have the exact lines," he explained.

"That's why you can often look at the real picture and the computer and it's very hard to tell the difference."

He added: "I think people often have the idea that a gamer is 16 or 17 years old, sitting in his bedroom doing something that's nothing to do with real life.

"What we're actually seeing in the UK is that eight million gamers are now aged over 35.

"They're older professional people and it's our core audience to advertise to now."

Gran Turismo 6 will include seven new circuits and is due to be released on the PlayStation 3 at the end of the year.