As everyone knows, it's extremely difficult for dealers to sell cars these days. The credit crunch and economic downturn has made many a salesman desperate…so maybe Polyphony should speed things up on Gran Turismo 5 .

Don't see the connection? You should. According to GTPlanet, a recent study proves that driving a vehicle in a video game makes the player "50% more likely" to consider purchasing that same car at some point in the future. Dr. Kyle Murray and Robin Ritchie conducted the study and placed one person in a room with Project Gotham Racing and another in a room with a video feed of the game. And what happened?

"Not surprisingly, we found that people who played the game enjoyed the experience more than those who passively watched. More interesting was the finding that playing the game significantly increased the players’ attitude toward the brand of car they were driving relative to the watchers. That is, driving the virtual car in the video game increased how much players liked that brand of car in the real world.

This was true even for those who had little experience with this type of game and, as a result, spent their playing time crashing into walls and taking wrong turns. Moreover, those who played the game told us they were 50% more likely to buy that brand of car in the future than those who simply watched."

As GTPlanet concluded, car marketers and manufacturers ought to take notice. There isn't much they can do about it, of course, but a series like GT could really help to boost car sales a bit. Obviously, we don't expect a rush on the Ferrari dealership, but there are plenty of other affordable (or at least, semi-affordable) vehicles in the GT titles. Take us, for example. After driving around the 350Z Fairlady in Prologue , I so wanted that car! …oh wait, I already had one at the time. Well, you get the point.