Polyphony Digital have secured a long term exclusive licence to ensure the fabled Pikes Peak International Hill Climb becomes an exclusive event for future Gran Turismo games. Revealed via a recent 'Ask me Anything' session with the makers of DiRT Rally, it appears that game making giants Polyphony Digital have secured a deal to have the Pikes Peak Hill Climb event licenced exclusively for their games in the foreseeable future, preventing an appearance in title's such as the DiRT series, which featured Pikes Peak as recently as 2015's immensely popular DiRT Rally. First let's give you a bit of background on the event itself. The Pikes Peak Hillclimb event has been a semi regular fixture on the American and international racing scene since hosting it's first event back in 1916. The race takes place on almost 20km of twisting and winding roads consisting of no less that 156 turns. As is the case in hill climb events, the stage gradually winds itself up hill until reaching a height of 14,110 feet at it's very summit - so it's pretty steep, it's pretty challenging and it's pretty popular. Nowadays the Pikes Peak highway is fully paved as apposed to the full and part gravel, part tarmac affairs that characterised earlier runnings of the Colorado race. With each yearly event hosting on average well over 100 competitors in a wide variety of machines and classes, the race can be considered a popular event, although still nowhere near achieving the international recognition received for such classics as the Daytona and Le Mans 24 Hour, Dakar, Nordschleife or the Indy 500 for example. So why exactly have Polyphony Digital gone out and secured the rights to a track that most developers aren't exactly knocking on the door to secure in the first place, and what does this mean for future trends in sim racing if a particular track can be locked down for exclusive use in a specific sim? Nothing good that's for sure... We are all no doubt aware of the negative press surrounding Porsche / EA Sports exclusivity debacle that has kept the famous German brand away from decent racing games these past few years, same with the Codemasters lock down on the Formula One licence, but has this happened in relation to a specific circuit before? * Not to the best of my knowledge it hasn't, and for me this is a worrying sign of how things could progress in the coming years as the almighty dollar takes precedent over what's best for the sim racing genre as a whole. Sim racing games, as in any commercially sold goods, works or services, can claim competition from rival development projects as one of the main motivations behind continually improving and enhancing their own products. The same applies to the content contained within those games. Without competition one can easily succumb to complacency and in those kinds of situations nobody wins. Content locked down under an exclusivity deal (in this case Pikes Peak) doesn't get represented across a wider audience base of different games, fans lose out on playing that specific piece of content in their simulators of choice, and of course no one has the need to push themselves in order to go that little bit further to achieve acknowledgement that their version is indeed the most satisfying and most accurate of those available. One only needs to look at the legendary Nordschleife as a perfect example of this. Just imagine if game x secured an exclusive licence for the track, we wouldn't then have the laserscanned Assetto Corsa and RaceRoom editions we enjoy today, or the extra special levels of detail and emotion that have gone into bringing this gigantic circuit to our favourite games. So why then have Polyphony Digital, a development studio not exactly renowned for making off road racing games, seen fit to wrap up a licence to use the track exclusively in Gran Turismo, depriving such title's as DiRT Rally from continuing to feature the track in their future games? Honestly I've got no idea. Gran Turismo has featured loose surface racing in past iterations of the series of course, however it's only ever really played at the dirty stuff, never actually having gone full out and produced a competent rally style simulation. So why the need to tie up a deal for Pikes Peak? Could this mean moves are afoot to branch out into rally racing in the coming year? Actually that's not as long of a shot as it would first appear. So could the licencing move by Polyphony be a first step towards seeing a standalone rally product from the developers, or at the very least an early indication that the Japanese studio might be looking to substantially increase off road content in future Gran Turismo releases? Well with the currently in development GT Sport marking a substantial shift in direction from previous games within the franchise, we now know Polyphony are perhaps more inclined to mix things up a bit compared to what was previously the case, so the timing could well be right for a change. Many virtual drivers have been vocal about the quality of recent GT releases, and with greater competition than ever before in the form of fresh console games Assetto Corsa, Project CARS and the new for 2018 GTR3, perhaps the studio are looking to broaden their horizons in a quest to maintain the enviable position atop of the racing game pile Gran Turismo still maintains. If GT now and in the future just want to bring Pikes Peak over to their game and decided the best way to do this would be to lock down the venue on a exclusivity agreement with the studio, then I think that's a rather sad outcome for sim racing as a whole, and something of a rather over protective move by the Japanese development team. One thing is for sure, with dedicated off road sims such as the DiRT series and Sebastien Loeb Rally having been denied the opportunity to replicate this monstrous event in future releases, whatever Polyphony do with the licence I hope they make it worth it. *to the best of my knowledge exclusivity agreements with specific tracks outside of series licences haven't happened before. Despite my research however I could quite easily be wrong! Gran Turismo 6 is the current latest title from Polyphony Digital. GT Sport is scheduled for release during 2017 for Sony PlayStation 4. Don't forget to check out the Gran Turismo Series sub forum here at RaceDepartment to keep abreast of all the latest news and discussion around these racing games. We have a dedicated section for GT6 and for the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport release, so stay tuned for all the information as and when it becomes available. Are you pleased to see the exclusive licence to use Pikes Peak has been secured by Polyphony Digital? Do you thing the move to licence a particular event is in the best interests of sim racing? Do you expect Polyphony to make produce an impressive version of the stage? Let us know in the comments section below!