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Gran Turismo HD - buh bye Posted by Kerr 12/03/2006 11:15 AM
Thanks to Flasawoo for linking this article. The headline about sums it up: "Sony Drops Gran Turismo HD". So it looks like the micropayment (the pricing was never "micro" to me) scheme is gone, at least for now. That and we may see an earlier release of GT5. I wonder if the public outpouring of disgust had anything to do with this decision? Having developed and run this website for 5+ years, contributing to the community and asking nothing in return, I hope it did... just a little.
Quote:
A version of Gran Turismo HD will still be released exclusively in download form through the PlayStation store. Titled Gran Turismo HD Concept, this free download will be available through the Japanese store on 12/24. A date for the US store debut has not been announced.

This is how a demo is supposed to be priced - FREE.
Quote:
As for the online racing that was being promised for Gran Turismo HD, Yamauchi says that this will be included in the final Gran Turismo 5 product. Many of the other elements that were planned for GT HD will also make it into GT5, according to Yamauchi. A release date for this true next generation Gran Turismo has yet to be finalized.

They say that online is going to be in GT5... good good. Does anyone want to take a stab at the GT5 release date? I'd say don't expect it before 2008.
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Gran Turismo HD and micropayments: the beginning of the end? Posted by Kerr 10/20/2006 8:58 PM
Many of you have read news of the "micropayment" strategy that Polyphony Digital has devised for the upcoming Gran Turismo HD on PS3. Quoting from an article on 1up:
Quote:
According to the Famitsu inteview with Kazunori Yamauchi, Gran Turismo HD will have two SKUs on the PS3. One of these games will ship with no cars, all of them will be purchased via microtransactions.

The other, Gran Turismo HD: Premium, will ship with two courses and 30 cars, with an additional 30 cars and an additional two courses online at a later date. The Premium game is being considered a prologue to the PS3's eventual Gran Turismo 5.

The microtransaction-focused game, Gran Turismo HD: Classic will be the online-focused entrant into the GT-series. In this game, players will (reportedly) start with no cars or courses available to them. Instead, they will need to purchase their stable of cars and courses to race on. The pricing reported in the Famitsu piece indicated that cars would cost between 50-100 yen ($0.43-$0.85) and courses between 200-500 yen ($1.71-$4.26). There are approximiately 750 cars and 50 tracks available for purchase in the GT: HD Classic. Let's do the math:

  • 750 cars for $0.50-$1.00 (Sony will round-up, don't you think?)
  • 50 tracks for $1.50-$4.50


A complete copy of the game will cost gamers somewhere between $426.50 and $975, and that's without factoring in whatever Sony decides to charge for the menus (since that's all you'll get with GT HD: Classic).

I've seen many discussions and debates on the particulars, such as how much the basic GT: HD Classic vs. GT: HD Premium will cost up front. Who cares? The bottom line, as anyone familiar with the corporate world already knows, is to make more money. Period. End of story. A la carte purchase of cars and tracks is nothing less than a stab in the back to the racing simulation genre. The idea of earning your way through the game by achievement is rendered null and void. You may say, "But, Kerr, you still have to get X license and beat X race series before you will be allowed to purchase X vehicle and/or X track!". Doesn't matter. Nickel and dime me to death for content that should be part of the game, and you can count me out. I couldn't care less how good the graphics, etc. may be.

There is also news that core features will be released later as downloads as opposed to shipping with the game itself. An an article on qj.net states:
Quote:
Yamauchi explained the reasoning behind releasing car damage and AI for Gran Turismo HD as downloads, which in short is "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Online gaming has changed the way developers approach building a game, he says. Rather than keep adding content until it's time to release the game, it's best to start service with something, and build it up from there. This means that a GTHD game (the Classic version) could be out as early as December (in Japan, anyway), and can be expanded later with microtransaction downloads.

And as for those downloads? Given the expense of downloading those cars and tracks and so forth, Polyphony hopes to make the GTHD-downloaded content usable for GT5 (planned release in 2008). Which, in our opinion, would actually be a very good idea - at least those downloads will still be useful when we get the next game, right?

Seriously, car damage and AI released as downloads? These are considered core aspects of a racing sim, not additional "content" that can be shelved for when there is more time.

As has become custom, it appears that GT development is behind schedule. Those of us who waited through the good end of two years of release delays for GT4 are very familiar with this scenario. Considering said delays, I and many others were somewhat disenchanted with the end result. The major difference here is that GT4 was not a launch game for the PS2. Intense pressure is on to release a GT game coinciding with the PS3 launch. Release delays will translate to mountains of lost revenue for Sony. The only way out is to release a half-baked game, tack on a capitalism-is-king downloading scheme, and watch the money roll in. Frankly, this makes me sick.

People are quick to blame the MMORPG genre for the start of this madness, but I also believe there is a corollary with the mobile phone ringtone industry. Talk about a complete ripoff scheme that went gangbusters! A bit of searching reveals that the phenomenon began in 2001 in Finland, then quickly spread to the other side of the Atlantic by 2002. In 2005, the four year old ringtone industry raked in 11 billion dollars selling 30 second lo-fi sound cliips to users. Am I alone in thinking this is flat out retarded? Regardless, it's obvious that the public at large has lovingly embraced the ringtone scheme. This sheeplike behavior encourages large corporations to create like revenue streams in other markets. The success of iTunes has further demonstrated that people are willing to pay, in aggregate, large sums of money for low quality, restricted content.

The application of micropayments in video games undermines the essence of a video game being a test of skill and turns it into nothing more than another shopping experience. That people aren't enraged at this industry wide shift in strategy is appalling and yet not the least bit surprising.

There are conflicting reports across the web as to whether Sony will actually pursue micropayments in the U.S. market. From a post on qj.net:
Quote:
Sony has yet to comment if this plan will apply for Western releases for the titles - which is the important point of this post. Already people are up in arms about this, screaming "rip off." It's probably safe to assume that Sony is taking time to see how the west will react before they take the plan and launch it in less "otaku" shores.

Make no mistake that Sony and many other corporations are committed to jumping on the micropayment bandwagon. As I illustrated above, there is plenty of market precedent indicating a potential windfall in revenues. I have been a loyal Gran Turismo addict since day one, and this is how Sony intends to reward me? If micropayments are introduced as part of the new Gran Turismo, Sony can expect zero business from me in the future. Really though, how surprising is a move like this from the company whose philosophy is embodied in words like Betamax, MiniDisc and Blu-Ray? As consumers, the only opportunity we have to tell a company like Sony how we feel is to not spend money with them. The gaming public is talking a good game now, but how will it play out in the end? Me, I'm going to continue playing the original Forza on my XBox while I wait for Forza 2. At least I have Porsches, Ferraris, a great selection of race cars, a damage model and aggressive AI that doesn't act like a robot on a string. Oh, and there aren't 50+ redundant versions of the Skyline. Big Grin
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New Feature: Vote Lists Posted by Kerr 09/10/2006 6:26 PM
From time to time I have received questions from tuners about who is voting for their setups. The data required to present this information has always been there, and I've finally managed to capitalize on some free time to code the enhancements. I've implemented three ways of viewing detailed, sortable vote data:
  • Votes cast for an individual setup
  • Votes cast by an individual user
  • Votes cast for an individual user
The first view is accessible directly from each setup. Assuming a setup has at least one vote, you can click on the quantity to display each voter's name and the date their vote was cast. The second and third views are accessible from any tuner's information screen, and display Game, Setup, Voter/Tuner, Make, Car, and Vote Date. As with all GTVault pages, all relevant information is cross linked with it's corresponding area in the site.
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SPOTTED - New GT-R (ES?) Updated by Kerr 05/23/2006 10:21 PM
Living in the Midwest, one doesn't have a lot of opportunity to see relatively rare cars. There's a guy with a black Diablo that I see often, I've seen a Lingenfelter modified C5 a couple times, and then there are a few Ferraris and other exotics sprinkled about. One car I can honestly say I've never seen around here is a GT-R. While at lunch in a ritzy area with a friend, I was fortunate enough to spot my first GT-R ever west of the Mississippi and east of, say, Colorado. I was even lucky enough to snap off a pic with my camera phone before he sped off into the horizon.



It looked different than most GT-R's, plus I think it had been modified by some aftermarket shop as it had the extra "ES" suffix. I can only guess at what that means - "Extra Shot"? Does anyone have more information on this car? Did I happen upon the upcoming stateside version of the GT-R? I know that Nissan has a big presence in Tennessee, but I'm not very close to those parts y'all.
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Tourist Trophy - anyone playing? Posted by Kerr 04/17/2006 10:20 AM
Hey all. Has anyone played Tourist Trophy at length? Looks pretty interesting, but what little I've read on it suggests there isn't much in the way of tuning. I'm pretty far away from gaming right now as I've not had my PS2 hooked up in over 5 months. That will hopefully change here in the next month or so.
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2006 Kansas City Auto Show Updated by Kerr 03/21/2006 9:51 PM
Heh - I originally posted "2005" in the subject - I'm an idiot!

After going to Chicago's auto show last year, I knew I was in for a disappointment at this year's KC show. I could count the non-production models on one hand... easily. Nevertheless, I took some pictures.

Evo MR vs. WRX STi... which do you like?

How about the Pontiac Solstice vs. the Saturn Sky? I know, same car, but actually I like the Saturn version a bit better. If for nothing else, the simple fact that they now have a decent car in their lineup.

The Camaro concept was definitely the highlight of the show.

The new Z06 was pretty cool too.

The XLR-V is way too expensive, but still a badass car.

Dodge's only concept, the Razor.

Acura RSX-S

The Lexus SC430 finally gets less crappy rims. They're still not all that good.

This is supposedly a fast Hyundai Tiburon.

Roush Mustang

Infiniti M45

VW's new GTI

The BMW M5 looks awesome in black.

BMW M3 - can't wait for the new one.

Jaguar's new XK - not much changed from the concept I saw last year in Chicago, so basically it still looks like a (watered down) Aston Martin to me. Not a bad thing necessarily.

Porsche 911 Carrera

Porsche Cayman S - I love this car.

MB SLK55 AMG

A pimp 300C

Nissan 350Z Roadster

Honda S2000 - needs a redesign

Ford GT

Shelby GR1 - I saw this in Chicago last year, but they had these blue lights shining down on it. It looks much better in natural (err, flourescent) light.

GT500!

You'll notice the general absence of people at the show. It gets a lot busier. If you're a picture taker going to an auto show, I suggest going on a Sunday at opening time before the church crowd piles in and trashes all the cars.
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For the Camaro lovers Posted by Kerr 03/12/2006 4:33 PM
My brother-in-law recently purchased a 1969 Camaro 307. It's in pretty good shape, but he restores cars on the side, so this will be his next big project. Regardless, cars this old now get all kinds of looks and thumbs up on the road.

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10,000 Tuners Posted by Kerr 02/23/2006 11:39 PM
I just noticed we rolled past 10k members here at GTVault. That number is a drop in the bucket compared to the bigger sites (never was a goal of mine anyway), but whenever you add a zero it's worth mentioning. Thanks to all for keeping this place alive!
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What do YOU want out of GT5? Posted by Kerr 12/24/2005 10:52 AM
Competition breeds innovation. Short of Forza on XBox, Sony and Polyphony Digital haven't seen any viable competitors in the console based racing sim genre. As a result, we players are suffering from a dearth of new ideas and creativity. Before the fanboys get their panties in a bunch, understand that I have personally devoted thousands of hours to build a unique community around the GT series. I have a lot of respect for the development team and what they've done in general. I never would have started this venture otherwise.

It's been around 9 months since the release of GT4, and I've had some time to reallly think about the game series in general, it's legacy and it's direction. The release of Gran Turismo 5 is some time off, but I guarantee the major development decisions have already been made. Personally, I've been less than ecstatic about GT4. The general formula of the GT series has not changed since the first release on the PS1, and I've had numerous discussions with longtime players who feel the same way. To me, GT4 is just a more polished rendition of the original game I played in 1998. Sure, there are more cars, more tracks, more races... it seems there's more of everything except creativity. The developers have taken the same narrow gameplay path with each successive release. I wonder if anything other than graphics, tracks, cars and the physics engine will set GT5 apart from it's predecessors? Judging by past releases, this may very well not be the case.

For both the long-time and new players, I ask of you: "What do you want out of GT5?" I'm not going to influence the direction of this by making my specific thoughts known in this post. I'm more interested in what you guys have to say.
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NOTICE: Scheduled downtime Posted by Kerr 12/06/2005 8:38 PM
My web hosting provider will be migrating to a new data center this Thusday, December 8, 2005. As a result, GTVault will be down for approximately 5-8 hours. Please do not e-mail about not being able to access the site. The matter is out of my hands until the migration is complete. I apologize for any inconvenience.
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