***See initial responses but otherwise Lock this thread so only I have this link as my own personal blog as I know it is not suitable for the forum***
Gaming rivalries exist, the most popular one of generations past being Mario versus Sonic. But today, you would have to look hard to find a gaming rivalry that gets the fans more passionate then Gran Turismo versus Forza Motorsport. The roots, from the fans on both sides, have their reasons to defend what they feel is the better franchise. Both are responsible for making what was just a newcomer into the simulater genre into the underdog rival to the biggest sim racer on the market.
Simply, GT vs Forza is PS3 vs 360, but multiplied. The console rivalry is arguably the most heated rivalry since the SNES vs Genesis days, maybe more so due to the advent of the internet. Each franchise is the exclusive IP for each console maker. The fans made it so the game directly represents the console they are defending. This is why many fans on both sides simply defend GT or Forza, regardless if they played the game or not. Simply, if it's on their favourite console, it's better, and certainly can't be branded the loser. What makes this even more heated then console comparisons is that console sales don't truly affect the individual gamer. A gaming franchise however, has players heavily invested in them. To say your favourite franchise is 2nd best is far more personal then saying your console is. Why care you ask? Many people take comfort in the knowledge that what they like is viewed as the best, or at least most popular. Any contrary notions invokes a primal urge on some level to defend what you like.
Furthermore, its about the modern motives of each fanbase. GT fans only know of their franchise being the best and the sales juggernaut it still is today. They seek to keep that pattern. PS3 has not performed on the same level as its predessor, so they take comfort in seeing that the #1 Playstation IP, and their favourite game series to boot, is still unchanged. The rise of Forza Motorsport this generation has prompted swift counters, because they need to preserve their perceived natural order of things. It is simply not enough to enjoy their own game, it is also about seeing that there is no opposition worthy to stand next to it. To disagree is to say GT vs Forza forum debates never happen, which we all know is false.
Forza Motorsport fans have a different motivation. Like the Xbox brand gen over gen, proving itself and taking up sizable marketshare up against seasoned competitors, Forza is too the newcomer, against a very seasoned and time-proven competitor. They feel the game is the best, which reviewers always seem to agree, but underappreciated...the underdog. They seek for it to get the sales and recognition it deserves.
This has escalated to the point where any comparison brings in sim fans and general console fans alike to rush to defend their product. It is merely a veil for another 360 vs PS3 topic. Its a fight to preserve tradition on one side, and a fight for recognition on the other.
Foundations and Beginnings
Gran Turismo firmly established itself as the premiere and really only sim console racer on the market. It reviewed well and the sales numbered reflected that. Sony had a sure hit on their hands.
Gran Turismo - 96 meta. 11.15 million
Gran Turismo 2 - 93 meta. 9.36 million
For the PS2 generation the franchise only grew and the quality remained consistent, with the inception of "prologues".
Gran Turismo 4: Prologue: 1.51 million Gran Turismo Concept 2001 - 1.84 million
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec - 95 meta. 14.88 million
Gran Turismo 4 - 89 meta. 11.36 million
Then came Forza Motorsport, only 3 months after the release of GT 4. Arrived with critical acclaim and supporting Xbox grade gaphics and online multiplayer, it was largely ignored by the simulation crowd. A few major factors affected the underwhelming sales performance of the initial release. Itwas the impending end of the current console generation (or at least the Xbox), the far lower lifetime sales of Xbox compared to PS2, but more importantly it was due to the strong brand presence of Gran Turismo, which up until that point, had two full generations all to itself.
Forza Motorsport - 92 meta. 1.05 million.
Sony were obviously simply going about their business with their #1 IP, but Forza Motorsport entered a competition being immediately ganged up on. For the generation, there were two full GT games plus two "prologues" that supplemented them. MS entered a battle full well knowing it was going to be a major uphill one. Also, GT 3 was, and still is, the most bundled Playstation game in history. Overall, this led to Forza getting a niche, yet dedicated following, something Microsoft can build upon next generation. And build they did, using Sonys own unintentional tactics of "mass bundling" and "ganging up" against them.
Forza Motorsport 2 - 90 meta. 3.99 million
Forza Motorsport 3 - 92 meta. 5.26 million
Forza Motorsport 4 - 91 meta. 3.28+ (In process of bundling)
Forza Horizon - 85 meta. 0.83+ million (Relatively new game)
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue - 80 meta. 4.12 million (retail)
Gran Turismo 5 - 84 meta. 8.43+ million (still selling)
Gran Turismo PSP - 74 meta. 2.93 million
Total: 12.55+ console offerings. 15.48+ total IP sales.
Until now I have tried to keep the article fairly objective. But here is where you, and GT fans, can see into the mind of the Forza fan and know where we are coming from. Microsoft has done wonders with Turn 10, hiring a passionate and dedicated staff that far outnumbers Polyphany Digital, enabling to develop titles at a far faster pace, knowing what an uphill battle this is going to be.
By making and releasing faster, it keeps the brand name constantly fresh in the industry, which would hopefully increase awareness. It also keeps the fans happy. I see no reason why Forza could ever be criticized at all because the developer cycles are two years for each mainline title (which is respectable in this industry) and they are always critically acclaimed. Why criticize for "milking" if the game is phenominal and isn't on a COD type release schedule? In regards to Horizon, I feel that it is meant as a trojan horse to bring in the arcade racer gamers, so that they may try the simulation Forzas afterwards. Whatever helps when your the underdog I suppose. Ultimately as we all know, the GT brand name is too massive to overcome in one generation, but progress is nonetheless made.
The bundling of every Forza, only after they sold enough alone to make a profit, is again meant to get the word out, but also taking a cue from GT 3. Microsoft is just doing tactics that Sony previously employed last generation. But seeing the generation sales trends of each IP, it is also due to Sony's actions. They hyped GT5 very early and as a result of delays, GT5 had a 5.5 year developement cycle. This helped allow the Forza name to expand as much as it did this generation.Despite what many fans say, I am 100% certain people wouldn't seriosuly object to two full GT games this generation, GT5 having the spec 2 update day 1, and the metascore being higher (least important of three). If there were two full Gran Turismo games, it would have all but undone all progress MS tried to make this generation.
See below. Another interpretation of generation sales.
2007: Forza 2 sells most (no competition)
2008: GT5: Prologue sells most
2009: Forza 3 sells most
2010: GT5 sells most
2011: Forza 4 sells more then GT5
2012: Forza 4 sells more then GT5/Forza Horizon doing its own thing.
Sony has essentially put their eggs in one basket (or two) this entire generation. Going year for year, including the 2 most recent ones, the Forza brand has sold more in 4 years compared to GT winning in 2. MS was able to capitalize on game delays and their own developer having more staff at their disposal. A Forza fan claims generation over generation improvement with IP sales per gen and citing that going by critical acclaim, Forza took the crown since Forza 2. By contrast, a GT fan claims that the fanbase, individual game sales, and brand name far outclass Forza Motorsport. Both arguments have merit and therefore is the sole reason why the debate will never end until one side wins in all aspects.
In conclusion, this debate is not going away anytime soon. Forza fans see their IP as the most quality sim racer and deserves better recognition then what it gets now. They see GT as a bully, its fans as bullies, and that GT's time in the spotlight is over. A GT fan see their IP as their best and favourtie simulator growing up, and still see that today. They see Forza as a upstart, a challenger that is but a mere imitation of what their time-tested franchise is capable of. They have the fanbase numbers on their side, and therefore they feel "majority rules".
Before this is locked, I would like to read some genuine responses, from people that read the whole thing. I may save the link afterwards and post it on my wall or my sig and you can tell me what you think there. Thank you.