While there remains no definitive release date for the comically-delayed sim racer, a Sony representative reiterated in a statement to Joystiq today that the publisher is "still aiming for this holiday" to launch GT5. Sony has backed up this target window by recently updating retailers, which passed the information along to their customers. Specifically, Amazon has notified GT5 pre-orderers of a "new delivery estimate based on the new release date" -- that date being December 31, 2010. (A full copy of one such email is posted after the break.)
Although there are exceptions (first-party Nintendo games tend to be released on Sundays), almost all video games are released on Tuesdays -- just like today -- in the U.S. And though Amazon appears to be acting on a date provided by the publisher, Sony confirmed December 31 is just a placeholder. "As far as the Amazon date goes," a Sony representative told us, "retailers have arbitrary dates that get listed to coincide with any given title's launch window if we haven't provided a specific date. So it's completely driven from their side [...] A placeholder if you will." Similarly, GameStop and Target now list January 1, 2011 placeholder release dates for GT5 (whereas GameFly is sticking with "TBD," for now).
Technically, you can get away with extending the holiday season into early January, and by all accounts, GT5 is still on track to meet this rather dubious date range. According to retailer expectations, however, no gamer -- big or small -- is going to be unwrapping Gran Turismo 5 from under the Christmas tree, or from any other location their loved ones might stack their presents this holiday. Unless, of course, Sony can pull off a last-minute miracle.
Amazon email notice to a Gran Turismo 5 pre-orderer:
We have received new release date information related to your pre-ordered video game in the order you placed on August 04 2010. The release date for the video game listed below has been changed by the publisher, and we want to provide you with a new delivery estimate based on the new release date:
"Gran Turismo 5 Collector's Edition"
Release date: December 31 2010
Estimated arrival date: December 31 2010
If you would like to learn more about pre-ordering video games from Amazon.com, including when you can expect to receive your new video game, please visit our help page (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&nodeId=468582#release).
We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this delay.
Customer Service Department
Check your order and more: http://www.amazon.com/your-account
Please note: This e-mail was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.