Gran Turismo: the future of sport (and not just esports) goes through here

He is right Valentino Rossi: the Japanese are stylish, perhaps the most striking resemblance to the Italians. AND Gran Turismo, made in Tokyo by the very Japanese Polyphony Digital, is a Japanese game at heart. It’s no coincidence that Italians, sales figures in hand, have loved it since its creation in 1997.

Arrived at the seventh chapter of the classic series (to which must be added the series sportthe Conceptsome spin-offs and special editions), Gran Turismo it transcends perplexities of those looking for hard and pure simulation (better to turn to R-factor or announcement racing trim, in this case) thanks to a characteristic that distinguishes it from its beginnings and which, like it or not, does not have competition: style, as Valentino says.

That is to say a sensitivity for everything related to the car, an obsessive attention that translates love and knowledge of the world into pixels Deus Ex machine of the series, that Kazunori Yamauchi former professional pilot (on real tracks) and graduate honoris causa in Vehicle Engineering at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where we know a lot about engines.

For this it is not necessary that the Polyphony series, in general, and The seventh Gran Turismo specificallyare celebrated by defining themselves as “real driving simulators”: because of the passion for driving, its sensations, the materiality of racing cars on the track (420 different cars in the seventh chapter) Gran Turismo it’s the ultimate celebration, an almost fetishistic digital interpretation of love for four wheels. Certainly not: automotive enthusiasts always find a reason to take a lookand maybe something more, a Gran Turismoas if Yamauchi and Polyphony set a standard every time.

Video games

Kazunori Yamauchi and the collaboration with Brembo for Gran Turismo 7

by Alessandra Contin

What has been written so far (premise that comes from one of the two Italian commentators of the world competitions of Gran Turismoflanked by Andrea Facchinetti) should be understood not as a sviolinata to the last production of the Yamauchi workshop, and even less as a review (the one from Italian Tech is here): because in the face of the passion for the automobile which Gran Turismo also transmits in live competitions, what we want to highlight here is that from the Polyphony game they start and intertwine different trajectories of motorsport of the future. And maybe even sports in general.

To say why, however, would require another excursus: even if, due to the fragmentation of the sector, it is now complex to be more detailed than billions of dollars in total displaced by exports worldwide (source: Statista, 2021), most come from companies such as Red Bull, Amazon, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Nike, Adidas or Gillette, or even most of the car manufacturers that count, with Toyota, mercedes and Renault in the lead (in 2019, the first house to do so, Mitsubishi presented to the market the Eclipse Cross Knight, a coupe SUV whose customization “winks at the world of gaming”).

For brands already linked to the competitive field, the investment makes sense, while the involvement of companies that produce cosmetics or cars suggests a historic revolution in tastes and Consumption habits: more simply, it is not that the leaders of the multinationals have lost their minds to Pac man and his successors. The same goes for the CIO, which already launched in October 2017 an opening (more or less retracted thereafter) towards competitive electronic games.

It’s all alone money matter: today, export reaches the youngest audience (between 18 and 34 years old, 85% male, specifies the specialized site Newzoo), an audience that is increasingly difficult to capture for the traditional media. It’s the same reason why, in the cinema, lately Iron Man or Batman whiz on race cars with recognizable badges. Because there he is, between a superhero and a streaming match of MDR, FoyerWhere fortniteit’s better if it’s to play with one like Pow3Rwhich brings together a large part of the buyers of tomorrow.

To be honest, they, the buyers, don’t care about money: it’s his money that attracts them to export capacity generate the perfect mix of competitive spirit and dreams, the desire to win and the ambition to do so by improving. The fact that video games and watching who plays them are the most popular pastimes for people under 25 is “accidental”, as Hannibal Lecter would say; it is only the sign of the times, which also manifests itself in our parts. Second the report on esports in Italy, and published in May 2021 by Iidea, the trade association, in our country 475 thousand people (a slight increase compared to the previous survey) follow export events daily, and this catchment area extends to approximately 1,620,000 people (+ 15% ) if we also consider those who say they follow an esports event several times a week. Also according to Iidea, the total economic impact (direct and indirect) estimated for the export sector in Italy in 2021 amounts to 45-47 million euros.

What does it mean? That the like, how it does not matter: it is probable that massive exportation does not yet exist, and it is possible that it never will, just as there is no sport that everyone likes. It could happen that one tomorrow virtual reality competitions conquer an international audience, perhaps in a mixed or augmented version and in dedicated venues, such as the Italian WeArena or The Void project in the United States. More likely, and the process is already underway, video games will be more understandable even to those unused to eroding the boundaries between the everyday and the virtual.


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And here the races And Gran Turismo: disciplines whose digital version is little different from the real counterpart. It is no coincidence that I GT Sport World Championships, the world championships of Gran Turismo Sportsare the first electronic tournament to have won, since 2018, the patronage of the FIA, the one that organizes Formula 1. And it is no coincidence that, before the pandemic forced them to take place remotely, each stage of the World Tour was run like a TV show: up to 64 chauffeur-driven drivers around the world (from New York to Sydney), more than 100 employees including at least 30 employees content to broadcast (more precisely, to put online), and to broadcast live capable, on a global scale and during the 2019 final, of reaching 5 million views.

The fact is as follows: in this respect, motorsport is closer to export than traditional disciplines, due to a material interface, an intermediary, crucial for the competition (cars or motorcycles on one side, joystick or mouse on the other). This resemblance to reality plus the immediate comprehensibility of its staging (after all it’s easy to understand a race, whether virtual or real, it doesn’t matter) the formula of the future. A future that will be dominated by competitions on beautiful and easy-to-follow video games: the spectacular efficiency could convince even those who are not passionate about video games of their commercial caliber.

Of course, the FIA ​​and some sponsors have already understood this: in 2019, it was Olivier Volery, Head of Partnerships and Building the Tag Heuer Brand, to say that “the horizons of motorsport are 3: traditional races, those with eco-sustainable energy sources such as Formula E, and digital championships, capable of involving a young audience and not necessarily interested in the true peer”. Correct: a young audience and not necessarily interested in traditional disciplines. This is the reason why the Nfl, the Nba and many Italian football clubs today have export sections in their organization.

When will export conquer the world? Thereupon it is not very serious to express oneself by displaying one’s self-confidence. Those who have done so in recent years have sinned with optimism. The truth is that the timing will depend on certain factors, such as the consolidation of interest from sponsors outside the sector, the market for television rights and widespread broadcasting in all regions of the globe.

One thing, however, is certain and is confirmed by investors like Shaquille O’NealMagic Johnson and also Michael Jordan, guys who know the sport and who, in competitive play, have paid interest and a few million dollars each: the manners and times remain to be understood. Corn esports is here to stay.

The passion for engines distilled into the pixels of Gran Turismo and in the compactness of his official competitions there are two of the most obvious proofs. Question of style, Valentino Rossi is right.


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