Did the racing genre of gaming reach its peak in popularity during 00’s?

Its no secret that the racing genre of gaming has evolved greatly since the 80’s and 90’s where titles such as Outrun, Ridge Racer, Scud Race and Daytona USA were very popular within arcade centers. While we did get to see quit a few racing games that were popular in arcade centers it felt those titles were released during a time period where the genre itself was not too popular. In fact, there were console games that were considered to be far more successful than arcade racing games from a sales standpoint that came out during the 90’s such as Super Mario Kart for the SNES and Gran Turismo which appeared on the PS1. But it was not until the 00’s where 3D racing games started to become more advanced in form of being realistic; the 00’s saw various racing games such as Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec and Race Driver: Grid where players could engage in career modes that allowed players to purchase and customize their vehicles in-depth. Also, some of most critically acclaimed 3D racing games came from the 00’s such as: Gran Turismo 3 & 4, Race Driver: Grid and Need For Speed: Most Wanted that many people in this current generation of gaming would probably enjoy today if they were re-released in high definition.

It should be noted that the 00’s was also the same decade that the Forza Motorsport & Project Gotham series began. The Project Gotham series was a huge attraction on the Xbox/Xbox 360 consoles between ’01-’07 with the second installment quite possibly being the best depending on who you ask. The Forza Motorsport games from ’05-’09 were also Xbox/Xbox 360 exclusives that caught the eyes of many gamers who owned either console. The first three Forza Motorsport games were also praised by critics and the series itself now rivals that of Gran Turismo which remains exclusively on PlayStation consoles. While we have not seen an entry from the Project Gotham series since ’07 Forza is still ongoing to this day. While Forza Horizon 4 from ’18 is considered to be the best game within the entire series it most likely would not have existed if the first couple of entries within the series flopped during the mid to late-00’s.

In addition, to the Gran Turismo and Forza games that we got within the 00’s there were also some pretty cool arcade like racing titles. We also got to see the release of high profile racing games such as: F-Zero GX, Mario Kart: Double Dash and Outrun 2 which were all titles that came out in ’03. While the titles just mentioned were not as popular as GT3, GT4 and others they were also enjoyable racing games with high replay values that would appeal to casual gamers who were fans of the racing genre. As far as optimal visuals and general gameplay is concerned the racing titles of 10’s decade definitely outshine the games of from the 00’s. But there is definitely a degree of accuracy regarding the 00’s being the golden era as pertains to the racing genre of gaming. Mario Kart Wii which was quite possibly the best selling racing game of all-time reached over 37 million in sales following its release back in April 2008. Its hard to believe that a Mario Kart game ended up surpassing every single Gran Turismo game ever made since ’97 including its best sellers GT3, GT4, and GT5; each Gran Turismo game sold between 10-15 million copies worldwide individually. We may never see racing titles from this era onwards sell nearly as much as some of the games that were released during 00’s decade.

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