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Japan’s Sony will again delay the global release of the latest version of its popular “Gran Turismo” car-racing game, which was due out early next month, officials said Thursday. Gran Turismo 5 for the PlayStation 3 video-game console was to hit US markets on November 2 and Japan the following day, but the release will now be “this holiday season”, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. said.
The delay is due to “production reasons,” said Makiko Noda, a spokeswoman for the electronics giant’s game unit, without elaborating. The release of Gran Turismo 5 had already been delayed from March this year.
Analysts say the game, which will be available in 3D, is crucial for Sony in showcasing its PlayStation Move system, which enables users wearing special glasses to play 3D games using wand-shaped motion controllers.
It will be up against Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect system for the Xbox 360, which lets players use body gestures and does not require hand-held controllers.
The delay to the game is therefore “very meaningful,” said Jay Defibaugh, a games and consumer electronics analyst with MF Global FXA Securities. “Delays are common, but what is less common is delaying it for a second time after having put a very concrete date on it in each region,” he said. “It is a game that is very strategically important for Sony, it is probably the one piece of content that will best highlight the graphic strengths of the PS3 hardware.” He added: “They obviously still need to brush it up.”
Sony’s Noda said it was not clear whether the game would be released in time for “Black Friday”, the day after US Thanksgiving in November and traditionally the biggest shopping day in the United States, the industry’s largest market. The Gran Turismo series is one of the biggest money makers for Sony’s game business, having sold more than 56 million copies worldwide since its debut in 1997.
Japanese video game rival Nintendo last month said its hugely anticipated handheld 3DS console would miss the key Christmas season, a factor in the company sharply reducing its profit forecast for the year. – AFP