Video: ‘Gran Turismo’ racing game celebrates its 25th anniversary

The world's second best-selling racing game franchise was released on this day in 1997, and has gone on to sell more than 90 million copies in the following 25 years.

Japanese technology giant Sony is celebrating its most successful video game franchise, the Gran Turismo racing simulator, on the 25th anniversary of its debut.

On 23 December 1997, the first installation in the Gran Turismo racing game franchise was released in Japan. It offered 140 cars and 11 tracks, and was exclusively available for Sony’s original PlayStation console – going on to sell more than 10.8 million copies worldwide.

Polyphony Digital claims it has sold more than 90 million Gran Turismo games in the past 25 years – across eight games for five different PlayStation consoles – making it the second best-selling racing game series, behind Need for Speed.

However, Need for Speed’s estimated 150 million sales come thanks to an earlier launch (1994) and its availability on all consoles and computers – not just PlayStations.

Gran Turismo 7 was launched in March 2022

In a video uploaded to YouTube, Gran Turismo’s developers – Polyphony Digital – celebrated its 25-year history with a look back through its eight main iterations, showing how the racing game franchise has evolved with technology and the global car market. 

The franchise has since spanned five generations of PlayStation consoles, with seven additional entries in the series after the first game – Gran Turismo 2 (1999), Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (2001), Gran Turismo 4 (2004), Gran Turismo 5 (2010), Gran Turismo 6 (2013), Gran Turismo Sport (2017) and Gran Turismo 7 (2022).

As previously reported, Sony is currently filming a Gran Turismo movie, based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough – a British teenager who won a competition in Gran Turismo to earn a chance to race in real life.

Gran Turismo has led to gamers turning into real-life racers, with Jann Mardenborough's story set to be turned into a movie

In 2011, Mardenborough participated against more than 90,000 other gamers in the Nissan and Sony-backed GT Academy competition, with the then-19-year-old winning the grand prize of driving for the Japanese car maker in the (real-life) Dubai 24 Hour endurance race.

The Briton has since raced in multiple real-world racing championships, including the open-wheel GP3 and GP2 Series (the pathway to Formula One) and Japan’s Super GT touring-car competition.

A theatrical release of the Gran Turismo film is scheduled for 11 August 2023.

Jordan Mulach

Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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