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UPDATE: 'Gran Turismo 3' Races to Record Books

24 Jul, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

With an initial shipment of one million units on July 10, Sony Computer Entertainment America’s premiere franchise, Gran Turismo 3 A-spec for the PlayStation 2, sold over 450,000 units in its first full week of sales, according to retailers and analysts.

GT3 sold nearly 340,000 units and generated nearly $12,500,000 during its first week of sales, according to sources that analyzed NPD TRSTS Video Game data for July 8-14, which accounts for approximately 80% of videogame retailers. Since this was a short week of data and many retailers did not receive GT3 until July 12, the additional unit sales are expected to appear in the following week of NPD TRSTS videogame data.

“The numbers we’re seeing from Gran Turismo 3 are the biggest that we’ve ever seen for a videogame in our stores,” Doreen McKenzie, director of merchandising and videogames, Babbage’s Etc. “In addition to the game, we’ve already sold out the first shipment of the GT3 hardware bundle and are half way through our second shipment. We expect to have a really good Christmas with both GT3 and the hardware bundle. Although Metal Gear Solid 2 will be huge this fall, GT3 is much more mass market.”

“This demand exceeded our expectations for Gran Turismo 3 and shows the strength of PlayStation 2’s graphical power and the mainstream appeal of the GT franchise,” said Ami Matsumura-Blaire, director, marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America. “We’re hoping to double the sales of Gran Turismo 2 and expect this title to stay at the top of the sales charts for a very long time. In addition to marketing Gran Turismo 3 through the end of this calendar year, we will continue to support this AAA title through Q1 2001 and into the summer of 2002.”

"Sony Computer Entertainment has truly set a precedent with Gran Turismo 3 A-spec," said Pete Roithmayr, v.p., Electronics Boutique. "In the week since its release, this highly-anticipated title has performed even better than we had expected. Gran Turismo 3 A-spec is the fastest-selling PlayStation 2 software title at Electronics Boutique since the launch of the system last October."

Richard Ow, senior account manager for NPD TRSTS Videogame Group, expects the new GT3 PlayStation 2 hardware bundle to become the standard for consumers buying the system.

“We’ve seen over 10,000 units of the bundle sold in its first week,” said Ow. “The $329 price point is a great value and GT3, along with the recently released Twisted Metal: Black, will carry PlayStation 2 sales through Q4 of this year. People will buy a PS2 just to play GT3.”

Ow noted that peripheral companies are also receiving a boost from GT3 with sales in steering wheel accessories and memory cards increasing.

“It’s no surprise that Gran Turismo 3 is selling so well,” said Anton Bruehl, president of the International Development Group, a videogame consulting house. “Consumers have been thirsting for a blockbuster first-party game and Sony has finally delivered.”

Drafting on the success of GT3, Gran Turismo 2 for PlayStation has moved up to 16th place in NPD TRSTS Video Game Charts with over 9,000 units sold for over $190,000 in sales. Gran Turismo and GT2 have sold over 11 million units worldwide to date.

Sony launched GT3 with an extensive multi-million dollar marketing campaign, encompassing far-reaching advertising and promotional programs with national broadcast and print media, promotional partners and retailers.

Six different TV spots will run during broadcast, cable and syndicated programming through the end of the year. Two print advertising campaigns will reach more than 23.3 million readers through a wide array of national consumer print media including men's lifestyle magazines, sports, automotive and gaming media.

Key merchandising support includes a dedicated point-of-purchase campaign at all national retailers. PS2 kiosks running GT3 and Logitech’s GT Force steering wheel and pedals are featured in Electronics Boutique’s nationwide mall tour. Sony also implemented several demo disc programs, a direct-mail campaign and viral marketing.

A national promotion to support the launch of GT3 is running through January 31, 2002. Consumers can enter the GT3 "Decode & Drive" Sweepstakes through an instant win game piece packed in with specially marked standalone copies of Gran Turismo 3 A-spec at participating videogame retailers. One grand-prize winner will receive free car payments for one year.

Sony’s strongest first-party franchise, GT3 was originally slated as a PS2 launch title, but was delayed several times. Thanks to the strength of the gameplay and the mass market appeal of the franchise, hardcore gamers and casual gamers alike have flocked to this franchise.

GT3 features photorealistic graphics, 150 licensed, world-class automobiles and 18 detailed tracks both on and off-road.

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