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[BLOG] Why I changed my mind on Gran Turismo 7

[UPDATE] Polyphony Digital has acknowledged making a wrong turn with update 1.07 and has vowed to rectify it now and in the future. Therefore, the original Gran Turismo 7 review score will be reinstated. That doesn’t mean they’re off the hook. Never forgetti, dear racing fans…

When I received my copy of Gran Turismo 7 – a little under two weeks before launch – I couldn’t be more excited. I might not be the purest of racing fans, but Gran Turismo holds this special place in my high-octane heart. While playing it for two weeks, everything looked great from a distance. It was only when I got closer that blemishes started to catch my eye. But never would I have thought that Sony and Polyphony would take a sledgehammer to my windscreen.

That sledgehammer came this week, in the form of Update 1.07. It has become a dreaded update already. Not only because it caused a whopping 30-hour server downtime, but also because of the nerfs that came with it. For some reason, Polyphony felt like grinding wasn’t tedious enough as is. It’s probably one of those things they forgot to QA test for the last couple of years. Since the real-life versions of these cars are expensive and hard to come by, earning them should cost you a few years worth of prize money.

Therefore, Gran Turismo 7 cut deeply into the prize money. According to some, it was done to counter credit farming. People would win the same race over and over again to rack up credits faster. It’s also very realistic because, in the real world, drivers are being paid less and less when they start winning back-to-back. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Lewis Hamilton only earned minimum wage because he was winning so many championships. Maybe that was the true reason behind Max Verstappen‘s 2021 F1 title, just to keep Lewis away from social welfare benefits…

In the meanwhile, messages of “limited offers” are still popping up left and right. Better get this ultra-expensive car fast, because it’ll be gone before you know it. It’s a sneaky way of tapping into your brain to exploit that FOMO effect (Fear Of Missing Out) in it. You either race 24/7 to earn those credits the hard way, or you can take out your credit card to buy some. I mean, you can’t even sell collected vehicles anymore. What’s up with that?

It needs to be said that the game never forces you to pay extra. That’s usually the case with microtransactions. It’s your choice and it always will be. That’s why free-to-play games are technically what they claim to be. But it’s clever marketing – or an overly tedious grind – that’ll gently keep nudging you towards them. In the case of Gran Turismo 7, this nudge ain’t that gentle. Yamauchi-san can say all he wants about “future plans that form a bigger picture”, but he ain’t fooling me. We’re dealing with a premium-priced game here. Trying to squeeze some extra bucks out of somebody who just paid $80 for your real driving simulator… it’s more of a ‘real credit card simulator’.

Honestly, I just don’t get it. Why risk the enormous backlash? Just so you can maximize profit? And is this the true reason why Gran Turismo 7 is an always-online game? So you can monitor players’ behavior and change the game to your benefit? I truly hope you guys realize what you’re getting yourself into…