Sony delayed the global release of its “Gran Turismo 5” racing title for the console a second time because of production issues. Sony will sell the game “this holiday season,” Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman at the game unit in Tokyo, said by telephone today. Tokyo-based Sony had planned to sell the game on Nov. 2 in the U.S. and Europe and the following day in Japan.
If they still get the game in stores for the holidays, this most recent delay shouldn’t extend more than a few weeks, but anyone who’s been following the shifting “GT5″ release plans for the last couple of years isn’t going to put a whole lot of stock in that claim. SCEA seems to realize that, though, and they have apologized. “We sincerely apologize to GT fans for the delay, however, creator Kazunori Yamauchi and the team at Polyphony Digital want to make certain they are creating the perfect racing experience, and we are confident that this ambitious game will exceed expectations when it launches,” Imasaki explained.
“We’re really close, but this was an executive decision that was made yesterday,” said Taku Imasaki, the North American producer for Gran Turismo 5, in a phone interview. “Realistically, we thought we had a good date. We’re not happy over here.” Sony rose 2.2 percent to 2,645 yen as of 9:46 a.m. on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 1.7 percent.
“Gran Turismo,” which has sold about 53 million copies since its debut in 1997, is among exclusive game franchises that Sony is counting on to help bolster sales of its hardware. The release of Sony’s “God of War III” in March helped increase U.S. sales of the PlayStation 3 by 44 percent that month from a year earlier, according to researcher NPD Group Inc. The previous version, Gran Turismo 4, landed on store shelves more than five years ago — the first game came out in 1997 — and last year, Sony indicated that GT5 would go on sale this past March in Japan. That didn’t happen. The November date was made official at the E3 game convention over the summer.