The PlayStation 2 is one of the biggest-selling consoles of all time. Successor to the ever-popular PlayStation, the console features full backwards compatibility and sold more than 155 million units in its 13-year lifespan. The console initially rivalled Sega’s Dreamcast, however, after the decline of the company the PS2 competed with the Xbox and Game Cube. In fact, there was a 6 month period where the PS2 was the only console around on the gaming market!
Unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show, the PS2 was already estimated to be the biggest console of its day after the success of the PlayStation. With fully playable demos of great games including Gran Turismo 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament – the crowd was instantly excited.
Upon launch the sales of the console and other accessories is said to have raised over $250 million dollars on the first day alone and with a further 980,000 units selling in Japan one day after! The overwhelming popularity of the hit console led to manufacturing delays worldwide and saw new PS2 consoles being sold on bidding websites such as eBay for thousands of dollars a piece!
With Sony’s dramatic over-take of the market, Sega announced the discontinuation of their Dreamcast console, meaning that for 6 months the PS2 was the only console on the market! The PlayStation team knew that they would be up against tough competition upon the release of the Xbox and Game Cube; Sony knew that the Xbox had greater specs and that the Game Cube was cheaper so subsequently decided to lower the console’s price to match that of Nintendo’s competition as well as releasing a series of blockbuster games over the holiday season.
To maintain the PlayStation 2’s incredible lead of the console market Sony knew that it would have to modernise the console. A perfect example of this is shown with the release of Xbox Live (Xbox’s online gaming service). Coinciding with this huge launch, the PlayStation Network (and adaptor) was launched and marketed as a major selling point of the console.
A few variations of the PS2 have been developed, the primary adaption being the ‘Slimline’ edition of the original console. In many ways the Slimline PS2’s were similar to the PlayStation’s PS-One console. Other variations include a 22” Sony Bravia HD TV with a built in PS2.
Additional features to the console include the likes of memory cards, a built-in DVD player and microphones for musical games such as Sing Star.