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GT Sport - What Does it Mean for Racing eSports?


21 July 2017 09:54

The makers of Gran Turismo changed the video game world when they announced Gran Turismo Academy in 2008; a development programme which took gamers from their living rooms to racing tracks across the world. Can GT Sport take eSports to even greater heights?

Very few video game franchises manage to make it to two, three or even four sequel releases of the same title. Gran Turismo has had no problem smashing that trend and developer Polyphony Digital has announced the seventh primary title, GT Sport, will be exclusively released to PlayStation 4 in October 2017. The original Gran Turismo came out in 1997, and the makers have taken the opportunity to celebrate its 20th birthday with a new game, the first on the ‘next-gen’ consoles.

A lot of credit for the popularity of the eSports world today can be attributed to the success Gran Turismo enjoyed when creating the GT Academy back in 2008 with car manufacturer Nissan. The academy was first to see a link between video games and the physical sporting world, and recent events such as McLaren searching for an official eSports driver can be directly linked to the academy’s creation. Today you can see graduates from the Academy competing in major racing series across the world, from Japanese F3 championships all the way to Blancpain GT series in Europe. The Academy shows no signs of slowing down, and will surely be boosted with the arrival of the new game come October.

The success of GT Sport in the eSports world will depend on whether it can transform itself into a spectacle that can be watched in an arena, much like LoL or CS:GO. The format of the GT Academy didn’t hold much spectator interest; as soon as someone had ‘won’, they were basically kicked out the eSports world and into the real driving world in front of a whole different fan base. You don’t get that with the current crop of established eSports, which give fans the chance to follow their favourite players through leagues and tournaments all year, experiencing their highs and lows.

The opportunity is well and truly there for GT Sport to dominate the driving eSports world, with games like Project Cars and Forza not having made the impact their creators wanted. The beauty of the race car gaming world is the diversity of options available to players, and Gran Turismo will have no problems on that front should it feature the hundreds of tracks and cars that were included on the previous title. Where it could truly rule the roost is in its potential for multiple races in a single day, something that can’t be recreated as easily out on the real track.

Time will tell where Gran Turismo goes with its eSports aspirations (should it even pursue them), but its new title sure does lend itself to some kind of tournament. GT eSports anyone?

Pulished on: 2017-07-21

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