Although the bulk of excitement over Sony’s exclusive franchises has been focused on the slate of games for the upcoming PlayStation 4, racing fans still have one game on the PS3 to look forward to: Gran Turismo 6.

After being announced just last week, Polyphony Digital‘s next entry in the ‘real driving simulator’ series will mark the franchise’s last on the current generation of consoles. Luckily, new concept video of GT6 has appeared online; while it’s no surprise to see the visuals are still leading edge for the hardware, it’s good to know the developers are pushing the PS3 to its limits.

At this point gamers have learned not to judge the successes or failures of a racing simulation based on gameplay videos or highly-polished trailers. If we’re honest, it’s hard to tell the difference between one series and the next from gameplay alone, since the prolonged development on current consoles has largely levelled the playing field. Regardless, this footage is sure to get Gran Turismo fans excited.

Most of the gameplay video was shown in the previous announcement trailer, albeit in brief clips, not an extended flyover. And as impressive as it looks, it’s worth noting that the biggest criticisms of Gran Turismo 5 were not of its graphical prowess, but user experience. While the developers are promising a bigger feature set than ever before, the video doesn’t help ease concerns in that regard.

Gran Turismo 6 Screenshot dino 246gt

And if features and online community design is going to be where Polyphony intends to take its biggest strides, they’ll have competition from their own Sony-exclusive colleagues. With the amount of time set aside during the PS4 announcement event for Driveclub, it seemed that not only had Sony found a racing simulation for its new console launch, but one to rival GT directly.

By restricting Gran Turismo 6 to the PlayStation 3 – for now, at least – Polyphony may avoid a head-to-head fight (depending on its release date), but also loses out on the built-in buzz an excitement that a PS4 release would benefit from. Since Polyphony has been working on the game for almost three years so far, it makes sense that a port to the PS4 will take time. Even so, the pressure is on.

The racing simulation genre is an interesting one, as both console exclusives and cross-platform releases all compete not to reinvent the wheel (pun intended) in terms of gameplay or graphics, but unlock the potential seen in online interaction and cross-media engagement. It remains to be seen if Gran Turismo 6 will manage to find the right recipe to get every player – not just the most enthusiastic and devoted ones – to go deeper than a quick race or brief career. Going by this concept footage, they’re starting off on the right foot.

What do you think of GT6 so far? Are visuals enough to get you excited, or does the impending launch of the PS4 mean only gameplay and online functionality can tip the scales? Sound off in the comments.

Gran Turismo 6 is expected to release in late 2013 for the PS3, with a possible PS4 port coming later.

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