It’s been quite a few days for Gran Turismo 7. The game was unplayable for more than 24 hours last week due to Update 1.07, which then nerfed payouts on all the best credit grinds.
The shake-up to the in-game economy, along with a relatively tone-deaf response from Polyphony, has outraged fans. And it leaves the door wide open for another game to scoop up disaffected GT7 players.
It’s an open goal for Forza Motorsport.
Two ends of the spectrum
The way you acquire and improve cars in any racing game is crucial to its enjoyment and longevity.
Forza Horizon 5 landed in November 2021 and gave out free cars at a rapid rate. Add in some clever community exploits for AFK credit grinds and people were getting a garage of 100+ cars without really trying or engaging in the world.
Couple that with weekly season updates that offer another five-plus free cars, and FH5 quickly lost any sense of achievement when it came to collecting cars.
This led to FH5 burning bright and fading fast from the broader community. While it still has its dedicated fans that dive into the game regularly those 15 million players that enjoyed the game, many who were new to the franchise thanks to Day One availability on Xbox Game Pass, have disappeared.
Forza Horizon 5’s in-game economy is in stark contrast to Gran Turismo 7.
With no way to earn credits outside of racing, with rewards reduced and both cars and upgrades incredibly expensive, GT7 has pushed players toward microtransactions under the guise of realism and a sense of earning cars.
It takes roughly 80 hours of general gameplay to get enough credits to buy the McLaren F1, which is only available for a limited time. Put too many miles on it and you’ll need to pay another nine million to replace the engine.
In short, the GT7 economy is a mess and players are furious. So furious that they are looking for alternatives.
Get the balance right
While we haven’t heard much about Forza Motorsport in almost two years since it was first revealed, the Xbox first-party racer has the chance to gain a huge audience.
If Turn 10 can balance the economy of FM and make car collecting hard but achieveable, while including a compelling on-track experience, then it could become the new benchmark for simcade racers.
While Forza is an Xbox (and PC) exclusive and Gran Turismo is PlayStation, the Console Wars are certainly starting to cool. More gamers have both a PlayStation and Xbox/PC than ever before to allow them to experience both sides.
So while the PS-only racers can't make the jump to Forza Motorsport, there will be plenty of disillusioned Gran Turismo 7 players that will be willing to give FM a try if it can just get the balance of grinding and experiencing new cars right.
Can Turn 10 make the most of this opportunity?
The fact that Forza Motorsport is still wreathed in shadow despite being announced before the Xbox Series X even hit the shelves is a worry.
It also means the ability of Xbox and Turn 10 to capitalise on this outright blunder by Polyphony is lower.
If the game was just around the corner they could be making waves. As it is, Forza Motorsport is still at least six months away. That gives Polyphony the chance to change course and return some balance to the GT7 economy.
Still, there is an opportunity for Forza Motorsport to usurp Gran Turismo when it comes to user-friendly simcade-style racing. It just has to do the basics right and reap the rewards.