The GT Academy, the partnership between Sony's Gran Turismo game and Nissan, released a time trial demo last month to begin searching for a racer good enough to jump from high-def screen to high-speed chicane. Last year Lucas Ordoñez was the first to go from gamer to racer, scoring a podium in his first race with the GT Academy team. You need to get on it if you want to follow in his footsteps, because you've already got a million competitors – that's how many folks have downloaded the time trial in the first three weeks.
If that isn't convincing enough, there is another less appealing reason to download the demo: GT5's release has been delayed indefinitely. Sony didn't indicate on its web site what caused the delay, saying only, "We apologize for any inconvenience." It was not, however, the previously attributed marketing issues. Some reports point to "production issues" with the $60 million game. London's Times newspaper, however, said analysts think this could be a deliberate Sony strategy. They suggest that Final Fantasy XIII did so well that Sony wants to release GT5 in the next financial year, after March, to lengthen the sales boost.
We'll lean toward production issues as opposed to a deliberate strategy. Heck, we'd believe werewolves caused the delay before we'd believe this was planned. The game does look phenomenal but it's already three years overdue, meanwhile Forza 3 eats into market share. On top of that, we have never heard of a successful business strategy that involved telling your biggest fans, repeatedly, "We don't have it yet," then switching to, "We don't know when we're gonna have it... um, we'll call you."
Will GT5 do well whenever it shows? Of course. But we will wonder how well it could have done. For now there's always the GT Academy demo, and among those million downloaders you'll want to look out for the one who goes by the name Duke Nukem Forever (whose initials are, coincidentally, DNF). There's a press release on the time trial after the jump, and a pretty bunch of high-res screenshots below. Thanks to everyone who sent tips!