Even the oldest Gran Turismo installations beat their rivals with high-quality customization options, cars, earning opportunities, and races designed for competitive fun. Let’s see how the series has evolved over the years!

Gran Turismo is a racing game series developed and released in 1997 by Kazunori Yamauchi and his friends. As a PlayStation exclusive, the title became one of the most popular in the genre, reaching seven installations released in 2022.

Today, we can confidently say it is one of the best and most unique video games, evoking strong nostalgia among those who have played it. Its fascinating history is worth exploring, so let’s look at how Gran Turismo has changed over the years.

Gran Turismo (1997)

Available on PS1, this initial installation in the series highlighted realistic car behavior, challenging to find in other genre representatives.

This feature determined its future potential as one of the most simulation-like racing video games. With 140 licensed cars and 11 tracks, the game sold 10,850,000 copies worldwide.

Gran Turismo (1997)
Image credit: Polyphony Digital

What made it even more alluring was the ability to tune vehicles between races and the option to earn cash for future investments. Players could feel taken care of by the multitude of available activities and development opportunities.

Gran turismo 2 (1999)

Released two years later on PlayStation 1, Gran Turismo 2 improved everything the prequel had to offer. The number of cars increased to 650 and tracks to 27, resulting in 9,370,000 copies sold.

Although the game uses the same graphics engine as its predecessor, the vehicles are noticeably larger, the visuals deeper, and the controls even more precise. Combining these features with the necessity to acquire licenses for accessing increasingly better rewards, GT 2 offers almost infinite replayability.

Gran turismo 2
Image credit: Polyphony Digital

Simultaneously, available events seem less complicated due to a better control system and life-like physics, so the entry-level to the series is relatively low for this particular installation – even for beginners.

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (2001)

Renamed from Gran Turismo 2000, GT 3: A-Spec quickly became a recognized milestone of the series.

Sure, it doesn’t offer as many vehicles as its predecessor, limiting the list to 181 models – but somehow, the game managed to reach an impressive 14,890,000 copies sold, including over a million in its first three days after release in Japan.

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
Image credit: Polyphony Digital

But what made this title famous with the number of available vehicles so limited? There are two answers to this question. One — it was the first game in the series to utilize the incredible PlayStation 2 abilities, and two — personalization. Players can genuinely feel they own their vehicles, and their presence influences the game world. It is about quality, not quantity.

Enriched with out-of-this-world graphics, a unique atmosphere, and several game modes, Gran Turismo 3 raised the bar for its rivals in the racing genre.

Gran Turismo 4 (2004)

The next installment on PS2 turns even more towards the simulation racing experience, offering a staggering 721 vehicles and 51 tracks.

The title sold 11,760,000 copies, and its popularity contributed to increasing sales of the Sony console. This time, all cars look like exact copies of real-life vehicles, and more parameters affecting their behavior further enhance driving physics.

Gran Turismo 4
Image credit: Polyphony Digital

And that’s not all, as the title offers tons of familiar and brand-new tracks spread worldwide and enhanced with addictive gameplay modes for hours of memorable fun. Moreover, GT4 introduces authentically behaving stadiums, incredible background details, and accurate engine sounds. This game proves how well Polyphony Digital recognizes its fans’ needs.

Gran Turismo 5 (2010)

We had to wait six long years to receive the fifth part, but it was definitely worth it. The game arrived with 1,074 cars to try on 81 tracks – a dream come true for any enthusiast of previous releases.

Gran Turismo 5
Image credit: Polyphony Digital

It’s true that initially, the title experienced issues with some bugs and graphical updates – but the realistic physics and audiovisual setting made up for these flaws. And thanks to the multitude of game modes like campaign, Single Race, Special Events, and more, players had — some still have — what to do in this game.

Gran Turismo 6 (2013)

The latest release on PlayStation 3 had the lowest number of copies sold in the series’ history, reaching only 5,220,000. At the same time, it introduced the highest number of 1247 cars and 100 tracks, so what exactly went wrong?

Gran Turismo 6
Image credit: Polyphony Digital

In 2013, players were already switching to PlayStation 4, so the brand-new PS3 game was a sales failure. Nevertheless, the title expands on familiar features and adds some new ones – like driving a Lunar Rover. The user interface finally received improvements, but all these new features are far from revolutionary.

Gran Turismo 7 (2022)

And finally, 2022 arrived with the latest installment in the series equipped with 4K resolution, ray tracing, 60 frames per second, DualSense haptic technology, and Tempest 3D audio. What a leap forward! Although the title received criticism for microtransactions and grinding-focused gameplay, the developer once again delivered what fans of the series love the most – the feeling of vehicle ownership and Career Mode.

Gran Turismo 7
Image credit: Polyphony Digital

That, combined with many external factors (like changing weather) affecting vehicle behavior, attracted experienced and new players, so the video game sold more than 80 million units.

Developing this title, Polyphony Digital successfully combined nostalgia with innovation, showering players with dozens of hours of tasks, races, and activities.


Gran Turismo managed to maintain what we can safely call consistent development over the years.

Minor initial glitches and not-so-welcomed microtransactions aside, the series has always succeeded in delivering innovative gameplay based on principles that made it so great in the first place. It has never abandoned players’ dreams and needs for the most realistic racing experience filled with the feeling of being a significant part of this world.

Sure, many other titles may be technically superior overall – but none provide that unique atmosphere of fun and engagement that really matters.