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Sony: The world still loves Gran Turismo

GT5 "takes your breath away".

Has the gaming world left Gran Turismo behind? Is the simulation racer still relevant in today's fragmented, socially networked word? For Sony, the answer is, unequivocally, yes.

Not only that, but the gargantuan Gran Turismo 5 can do for PlayStation 3 what Gran Turismo 3 and 4 did for the PlayStation 2.

"I didn't know until I saw it," Sony UK boss Ray Maguire told Eurogamer.

"Like you I was thinking, well, the world has moved on a little bit, social gaming has emerged, people are accepting smaller, bite-sized bits of gaming at very low value.

"Then I saw it, I saw the detail of it, and it does take your breath away. You go, 'Oh my God, now I understand it.' "

Gran Turismo 5, created by Polyphony Digital's car-obsessed president Kazunori Yamauchi, releases at midnight tonight after half a decade of development.

It is the first pillar release in the Gran Turismo series since 2004's PlayStation 2 game Gran Turismo 4.

Maguire added: "We have to understand that the gaming landscape has changed and recognise that, but at the end of the day, I want it all. I don't just want Angry Birds and Doodle Jump, I want Gran Turismo as well.

"Consumers will decide what they want to entertain themselves with at a certain point in time. Some of it will be a deep experience, some of it will be a very casual experience, but they'll all fit together in a wider universe."

Looking back on the Gran Turismo series and its impact on the success of the PlayStation brand, Maguire said the sim has always pushed the limits of PlayStation hardware.

"Clearly one of the games which was very important for PS2 was Gran Turismo," he said. "It took the machine to the limits, and it continued to do that all the way through to the last iteration.

"What's interesting is that there's been nothing until now on GT. That's because the hardware that we have now allows for so much more freedom. The passion and the drive for excellence that Kazunori has is taking him all the way through to try and push the technology we have now."

The Gran Turismo series has sold a whopping 55 million units since it burst onto the scene in 1997. How many copies will Gran Turismo 5 sell?