There are those that are unaware of the newest supercar to make it to our shores, and for their education, I’ll provide them with the simplest analogy I could think of: The Nissan Skyline GT-R is to the Japanese what the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 is to Americans, what the Ferrari 599 is to the Italians: an icon of automotive ingenuity, innovation and shear raw power.
For years though, our only glimpse of the Skyline came through two methods: either your subscription to Car & Driver or playing Gran Turismo. It’s the latter that proved an interesting and fundamental piece to the development of the 2009 Skyline GT-R.
As the New York Times reports,
Not only did Nissan give GT-R data to the Sony PlayStation designers and the software developers at Xanavi Information to make sure the cars in the Gran Turismo games would be accurate, the game producers returned the favor, helping to create the car’s 11 instrument panel display screens.
To quote Rain Noe of Core77, “Now there’s an interesting input source for auto design.”
And he’s right! It makes perfect sense. Gaming consoles live and die in 2008 by their UI – The Wii, XBOX Live, Home – all are intuitive in their own manner and attract millions of gamers due to their ease of use. Additionally, the Playstation/Nissan partnership shouldn’t be a unique exception, it should be a collaborative rule, for gaming developers have been designing vehicles in video games for decades. Only recently have they had the opportunity to integrate the manufacturer’s vehicles in their games due to the paradigm in licensing completely flipping. It used to be game developers would pay a licensing fee to the auto companies! Now publishers collected the Maya CGI files along with a check for every vehicle integrated.
So what’s next? How about Nintendo taking a crack at the irritable BMW iDrive. Microsoft has already flexed its muscles with Sync and it’s been a hit for all intents and purposes for Ford. Now what would be unique, is an ultimate design competition – give game designers the chance to create the next great concept vehicle to take center stage at the NAIAS. With physics engines and the scrutiny for perfection they take in recreating reality (i.e. GT5), they probably know the limitations of the vehicles they insert in games today better than the companies who manufacture them.
For the first time ever the Skyline, with its Sony Playstation inspired instrument panel, makes its way to the United States for a surprisingly economical $70,000 before dealer markup. I assure you, $70,000 has never seemed like more of a bargain than it does when appended to the price tag of the Skyline GT-R. Even when compared to a PS3 and a copy of Gran Turismo!