Gran Turismo 6 Revealed - 'The Real Driving Simulator' Gets Closer To Reality

A new Gran Turismo game is massive news in the gaming world - and with good reason too. The title has been with us for fifteen years now and has sold seventy million copies - you'd need a shelf from Tokyo to New York to fit them all on alongside each other. It launched the entire driving simulator game genre for the console world.

Offering as true-to-life visuals as is possible and further refined driving physics with each successive iteration, Gran Turismo and its ilk are rapidly becoming virtual showrooms.

You no longer need to go out to experience a car when you can do it from your sofa, examining the car's details inside and out and feeling how it drives at a selection of the world's tracks.

The tracks themselves are painstakingly recreated, such that real racing drivers train for circuits they've never visited from the comfort of their motorhomes. Rally legend Sebastian Loeb - who played a role in developing the fifth Gran Turismo title - used Gran Turismo 4 to learn his way round the Circuit de la Sarthe of Le Mans before the 2005 race.

If you can learn GT's inch-accurate Nrburgring, chances are you'll at least know where it goes when you get there for real - even if you're not quite prepared for the elevation changes!

In fact more than a training tool for existing drivers, Gran Turismo has been used as a tool to train new ones. The Sony/Nissan GT Academy partnership has given eight gamers thus far the chance to drive real racing cars during its annual competitions - held since 2008 - and they've not disappointed.

Lucas Ordoez was the first and he's achieved podium finishes in 24 hour races across the world, along with a 2nd place overall finish at Petit Le Mans at Sebring in the insane Nissan Highcroft Racing Deltawing - while youngster Jann Mardenborough sprinted through British GT in 2012 and finds himself driving Formula 3 with the Carlin team from which world champions Sebastien Vettel and Jenson Button graduated.

But it's Gran Turismo's influence on the motoring world that's the real headline. With a staggering array of real cars, authentically replicated in the games, Gran Turismo is a showcase for manufacturers.

Alongside exposing the older gamer market to their cars, they can get their brand into the minds of the younger gamers - future generations of car buyers.

It's not just performance cars either - GT has been at the forefront of pushing alternative fuel technologies into gaming, with the Toyota Prius appearing in the series as far back as 1999.

The selection of city and economy cars is similarly impressive - but expected for a game born in Japan - and players are encouraged to tweak and tune them into fairly potent little boxes.

When a car appears in a Gran Turismo, it creates demand. TVR first appeared in the original game in 1997 and had quite a paltry non-European market at the time, but the exposure though the virtual Griffith and Cerbera brought a 600% increase in sales, particularly from Japan.

Mitsubishi noted a similar appetite for the Lancer Evolution, while Ford found that models featured in video games had around a 30% increase in conversion from test drives to sales over other models.

Moreover, manufacturers are even launching their models through Gran Turismo. Subaru and Nissan both unveiled models at the Tokyo Motor Show simultaneously with Gran Turismo 5: Prologue - gamers were witnessing the virtual models at the same time as the world press, and driving them well before. Chevrolet followed suit just this year with the next generation Corvette Stingray in GT5.

Of further note is what the game's creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, calls The Edge Effect - where the line between games and reality becomes blurred.

The Polyphony Digital team behind the series were tasked with designing the multi-function display of Nissan's GT-R back in 2007, while a datalogging function - recording your own real laps through GPS and playing them back on the PlayStation - has been codeveloped with Toyota, appearing in the GT86.

So GT6's announcement for PS3 - with a putative November release date - is a point of interest even outside the console gaming world.

With over 1200 cars to experience - an increase over its already record-breaking predecessor - and a swell of new tracks promised, including Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Mount Panorama (if you believe the more plausible rumours), GT6 will influence car buying trends for years to come.

You may even find you use it for researching and experiencing your next car before you ever set foot in a dealership...

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