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Driving simulator turns 15

Sony will host a celebration of the 15th anniversary of Gran Turismo at the Silverstone Circuit on 15th May.

The original Gran Turismo game was first seen in Japan in December, 1997, after five years of development by legendary designer Kazunori Yamauchi, and then released around the world during 1998. The franchise went on to become multi award winning and the biggest-selling PlayStation title ever.

Yamauchi-san is set to provide an update on the future of the Gran Turismo game at Silverstone. His passion for all things automotive is evident in the ever-increasing levels of realism and attention to detail in Gran Turismo, and the huge range of cars for which it is famous. Strong relationships with the many manufacturers that have featured in the franchise have led to some fascinating co-operations with the automotive world: such as the Red Bull X2010 ultimate race car, GTbyCitroën concept, a design co-operation for a display featuring on the real Nissan GT-R and an innovative new app developed for the Toyota GT86.

In a close partnership with Nissan, PlayStation has taken the virtual-to-reality overlap, inspired by Gran Turismo, to a new level in the form of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy. The now-famous racing driver development programme selects the fastest GT gamers from around the world and transfers their talent to real-world racing. The competition began in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength. Over three million people have entered since its inception, and graduates of the Academy have recorded some impressive results, including a second-place finish in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 class. Five Gran Turismo gamers turned GT Academy champions will be on hand at Silverstone. The ‚’Nismo Athletes’ will be showing off their real-world racing skills with some high-speed passenger laps around the famous circuit, a track that has, so far, never featured in Gran Turismo.

This mutual respect and increasing blurring of the lines between the virtual and real, has led to the Silverstone event being well supported by a host of other manufacturers as well, such as Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, KTM, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Toyota. Real-life versions of their cars, old and new, familiar to the legions of passionate Gran Turismo fans will be on display and on-track as part of the event.

‚”The Gran Turismo franchise continues to be extremely important to PlayStation,‚” explained Jim Ryan, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. ‚”We felt that 15 years of GT was an event worth celebrating along with our colleagues from the Americas, Asia and Japan. We are very grateful to our manufacturer partners for helping us to bring together a fantastic event. As well as experiencing the development of the franchise and comparing the virtual and real, it will be a pleasure to see Yamauchi-san and hear what’s next for Gran Turismo.‚”

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Bixby brings AI shopping to SA

Samsung has announced a strategic partnership with visual search provider Syte to power the first visual AI marketplace within Samsung devices.  Syte’s AI technology will power Bixby Vision’s Shopping Assistant, enabling users to browse and shop visually similar products directly from their camera and through a gallery of similar products. Outlets that will be enabled on devices include Superbalist, Zando, Cotton On, Wantitall, Homechoice and Bid or Buy.

“South Africa has enthusiastic consumers that expect engaging and convenient experiences that fit their lifestyle. We, therefore, decided to expand our partnership with Syte so our devices deliver just that,” says Justin Hume, director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa. “With visual search, South Africans can shop with ease, and connect better with their favourite retailers and brands and vice versa.”

Syte retail clients will populate the shopping results, which means access to purchase-ready traffic to retailers. Samsung says it aims to create the first visual AI ecosystem, where real-life inspiration leads directly to product discovery and purchase. The retailers that appear on the shoppable feed will create a consistent experience, from snapping a picture through to check-out.

“Our partnership with Samsung and its expansion to South Africa are meaningful achievements for us,” said Ofer Fryman, CEO of Syte. “By powering the end-to-end journeys of shoppers, we bring more value and increase the engagement between our retail clients and consumers.”

With Bixby Vision already built into the camera on select Samsung devices, users can translate foreign languages, identify landmarks or businesses to learn more about them and keep track of calories. Samsung says this is all aligned to its greater vision of helping people “Do What You Can’t”.

Supported devices for Bixby Vision and Shopping include Galaxy S10+/S10/ S10e, S9/S9+, Note8/S8/S8+/A7 2018/A5 2018.

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Gran Turismo 6 on the grid

Sony has announced that Gran Turismo 6 (GT6), the latest version of PlayStation’s best-selling franchise, will be released in the next few months.

The news was revealed today by Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi at an event held to celebrate 15 years of the 70-million-selling series.

GT6 for PlayStation 3 will bring new levels of authenticity to ‚’the Real Driving Simulator’ as well as introducing stunning new tracks and cars and a revised user interface. A new compact game engine will improve operation and increase the flexibility to expand it with downloadable content. Meanwhile, the game is also set for expanded connectivity with other devices such as smart phones and tablets and increased social and community functions.

All of the cars and tracks from Gran Turismo 5, which has sold over 10m copies since launching in 2010, will be retained in GT6. But notable new additions to the already impressive line-up of historic cars, road cars and the latest race cars, brings the total car list to 1200 at launch, with new cars set to be continually added online. Several thousand aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars, and players can personalize their own custom cars in game to the greatest ever level possible.

The UK’s famous Silverstone Circuit will be just one of seven new locations in Gran Turismo 6, taking the total to 33, with 71 different layouts available, 19 of them brand new. There will also be regular additions of new tracks set to be made available online. The improved course maker function will provide gorgeous scenery spanning several tens of square kilometres including the magnificent backdrop of Andaluc√≠a.

The theme of Gran Turismo’s innovative collaborations with partner companies will increase with the inception of GT6. A number of exciting new projects that blur the line between the virtual and real will be announced in the run up to the game’s launch. Not least of these is GT Academy, collaboration with Nissan to unearth real racing driver talent that first ran in 2008. It was announced during the event that the competition returns for its biggest ever year in 2013, with the entry mechanic set to take place on an exclusive GT6 demo in July.

Other notable partnerships in the development of GT6 have been with tyre manufacturer Yokohama Rubber and suspension company KW Automotive. Both companies are active in the commercial car industry and in racing, and they have acted as technical development partners for the game’s new physics engine, for its tyre and suspension kinematic modeling, creating an even more realistic experience for GT fans.

‚”It is amazing to think that it is 15 years since we first released Gran Turismo,‚” explained Kazunori Yamauchi, during the announcement at Silverstone Circuit.

‚”Things have changed a lot since then and now Gran Turismo 6 is a further evolution of my dream. We’re pleased to deliver GT6 to PlayStation 3 as we have a very loyal community on that platform. However, we have refactored the game to make it very flexible and expandable, with a view to making many future developments. I am very pleased with everything about the new game and the new additions, but the launch will be only the beginning for GT6. The game will continue to develop throughout its life. I already have many ideas for things I want to achieve in the next 15 years of Gran Turismo!‚”

The celebration of 15 years of Gran Turismo event at Silverstone included a demo of GT6 featuring the famous circuit. Guests were able to play the game in the familiar circular Gran Turismo race pods before having a chance to take to the real track in cars provided by Audi, Ford, Jaguar, KTM, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota.

Further news about Gran Turismo 6 will be revealed at the forthcoming E3 and Gamescom events and on www.gran-turismo.com. #GT6iscoming

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