It turns out the rumours were true. The next installment of Gran Turismo, one of Sony's leading franchises with millions of games sold around the world, will launch on the PlayStation 3 instead of the PlayStation 4 towards the end of the year. But while this can be seen as massively positive news for the PS3's hefty install base, it seems like a bad move for those who were considering jumping to the PS4 this year.
Let's get this out of the way: Gran Turismo is a console seller. It's such a huge title that if it was announced during the PS4 reveal earlier this year instead of DriveClub, excitements levels would have gone up more than a notch or two. It's so influential that you can't imagine a Sony console without a Gran Turismo to play on it, so why have they gone down this road?
While it's not clear yet, the main reason is probably to do with money and time. Every version of Gran Turismo is a beautiful one, but that beauty takes quite a while to develop. The last title in the series, Gran Turismo 5, was announced back at E3 in 2006, but didn't actually make it to stores until 2010. The lengthy design process was a lesson developer Polyphony Digital no doubt learnt from, and bringing Gran Turismo 6 to hardware that it has already worked on is no doubt the safer option.
But what of the masses of people who will be switching to the PS4 soon after Gran Turismo 6 arrives? Will they be put off by the idea of upgrading consoles now, considering that racing fans only have the untested and mysterious DriveClub to look forward to? Or will it instead hinder the sales of one of Sony's flagship series, which surely deserves more than being an afterthought at the end of a console generation?
Only time will tell, but this seems like a mistake on Sony's part. Enthusiasm for Gran Turismo 6 will be nowhere near as high as it would have been were it launching on the PS4. And while it may yet find its way to the PS4 eventually, it may not be for another two or three years. For all the controversy this next statement may cause, you can't imagine Microsoft doing the same with the Forza series.
But maybe it's also an overall indication of how Sony and Microsoft differ in business strategy. Microsoft has no more exclusives planned for the Xbox 360, and you can imagine that every new title announced now will be for the next Xbox. Sony might be looking to capitalise on consumers who can't afford new consoles this year, but would gladly hand over their money for a cheap PS3 and a copy of Gran Turismo 6. If this is the case then there's a chance it could be a fruitful move for the company in the long-term, but it could also be to the detriment of the PS4.