Imminent Gran Turismo launch makes PC driving games that much more depressing

After one pay-to-play demo, numerous delays, and years of waiting, Gran Turismo 5 finally has a release date for the PlayStation 3. You'll be able to sit behind the wheel of over a thousand meticulously modeled cars on November 24, according to Joystiq. All indications suggest that the driving sim will be well worth the wait. To start, the graphics look nothing short of gorgeous. Weather effects have been added to the game, and with a diverse array of vehicles and tracks at their disposal, players should be able to find something that suits them. There's even an in-game track editor for creative types.

As an Xbox 360 owner, I'm incredibly jealous. While Forza Motorsport 2 is excellent, especially since I've actually been playing the full game for more than a year now, it looks like Gran Turismo is set to retake the crown. What really kills me, though, is that there appear to be no plans to port either game to the PC. Making matters worse is the fact that there really isn't an equivalent that's native to my gaming platform of choice.

There are plenty of driving games you can play on your desktop, of course. The Need for Speed franchise has been a staple for quite some time, and it recently tried to cater to the Forza and Turismo crowd with a racing-oriented Shift derivative. However, none of the driving games on the PC come close to matching the sheer volume of content and overall quality that flagship driving sims deliver on consoles. That's a crying shame.

If anything, the more robust CPUs available in modern PCs should be better equipped to handle the complex physics engines responsible for recreating a believable (and hopefully still fun) driving experience. The PC platform certainly has the graphics horsepower to render cars and environments in luscious detail—something that continues to be a struggle on consoles that are often unable to render games smoothly at even 720p resolution, let alone 1080p. Enough PC driving games exist to suggest that users have interest in the genre. I can't help but wonder why developers haven't taken up the challenge of beating Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo at their own game. Surely, we have the technology.

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