The Gran Turismo franchise has sold more then 50 million copies since it was launched in December 1997, Sony has announced.

The franchise, the latest in which is the Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, has evolved with the PlayStation platforms over the years, improving on gameplay and graphics as the years have gone on.

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is the seventh instalment in the series and has introduced new features such as online head-to head racing for up to 16 players, Gran Turismo TV and downloadable additional content including new cars and courses, only possible on PS3.

Speaking of its success, producer of Gran Turismo Kazunori Yamauchi said: "Initially, Gran Turismo was an 'alternative' racing game, kind of an outsider in the genre".

"We made it thinking that it would be okay as long as it reached out to the select few who would agree with us. So this figure, 50 million units - is simply astounding."

He added: "I would really like to thank all the fans who have supported the Gran Turismo series over the years, for all their passion and love of the game. We’d like to continue making every effort to create cutting edge, high quality games, so that we don’t disappoint anyone’s expectations".

So there you have it GT fans. Gran Turismo looks set to live on.