December 23 1997 is the date when the first Gran Turismo game launched on a PlayStation console. A lot of progress and growth has happened since, leading up to the 25th birthday of the franchise, so Sony Interactive Entertainment and Polyphony Digital are looking back kindly on their collaboration.
Apart from a personal and lengthy letter from Polyphony Digital CEO Kazunori Yamauchi, the two parties also came out with 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 over 90 million customers have gotten their hands on a Gran Turismo installment over its lifetime, saying:
In the last 25 years, the cumulative sales total of the series has reached over 90 million copies as of November 16, 2022. And this result is something that could not be accomplished by ourselves alone.
PlayStation rarely dishes out specific sales figures, but acknowledging the success that the GT franchise has brought them must be a good motive.
The last update by Polyphony Digital was in May of 2018 when they reported 80.4 million copies of the game being sold. That means that roughly 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 5-6 million copies of GT7 being sold over these three quarters, it would already put it equal to the reported lifetime sales of GT6. The development team at Polyphony Digital isn't even stopping there as the studio has shipped out two major updates in the last ten weeks in honor of the anniversary.
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The first of the said free updates came out in September and featured three new cars, a new racing track, and several new features. Meanwhile, the latest one dropped last week and it introduced five new cars including a Ferrari Vision GT concept car. The updates were more than welcomed by the player base, considering the new features were all free of charge.
After being originally released in 1997 for the PlayStation 1, Gran Turismo became one of PlayStation’s premier 1st party titles. From the moment it hit the shelves in its native Japan, Gran Turismo has been keeping pace with the ever-evolving technology of the PlayStation hardware. As Yamauchi noted, 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 increase in number for over a quarter of a century, and has become Polyphony Digital today, a company with over 200 staff members."
Yamauchi also mentioned that his filmmaking ambitions in his early days of collaboration 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 beginning his career.
"I believe the Gran Turismo series have always pursued “beauty.” The beauty of the cars, the beauty of the scenery, the beauty of the lighting, the beauty of driving, the beauty of sounds/music, and the beauty of the graphics. ” writes Yamauchi as his pursuit of beauty lives on with Gran Turismo.
Gran Turismo 7 is widely considered one of the best entries in the series and, most likely, it will push the franchise close to 100 million units before it gets a sequel. Racing fans might also want to look forward to the live-action adaptation in August.