On Gran Turismo: HD

Here’s another reason to dislike Sony and their PlayStation 3 plans: Gran Turismo: HD will cost players an arm and a leg to play.

The current rage in online gaming is microtransactions. Because consoles–like the Xbox, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3–have hard drives and online capabilities, users can purchase content for their games and download it to their hard drives. These microtransactions could be free, or they could cost the user a small fee. The providers think of it as something like buying a song online from iTunes or Napster. And because on something like XBox Live you’re not spending money directly–you spend points, which you buy with money–it doesn’t feel like you’re actually spending anything.

So, what does this have to do with the PlayStation 3 and the Gran Turismo game for it? Well, the game will come in two flavors. A version without cars and tracks. A version with a few cars and a few tracks. If you want more, it will cost you.

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).

So, you have to buy the game, and then you have to buy the cars in the game, and the tracks on which you drive. And what about the people who don’t have broadband?

I realize that the people buying the PlayStation 3, given its price point, won’t think twice about a situation like this, and they’ll more than likely have a high-speed connection. But for the casual gamer? Where’s the appeal?

I don’t know. The whole idea of spending a thousand dollars, just on a game, strikes me as being ludicrously wrong. But everything about the PlayStation 3 is ludicrously wrong, so what else is new?

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