Remembering The PlayStation 2

By Mike Sousa on October 5, 2013, 9:34AM EDT

Let's take things back quite a few years. Sony has released their first console, the PlayStation, and it's taken the industry by storm. Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Sony has decided to create an even better console, the PlayStation 2. This time, it's going to feature some cutting edge technology like the Emotion Engine and a built-in DVD player. This allowed for games to be even more expansive, as well as offering people the chance to watch movies through their console.

The rest, as they say, is history. The PlayStation 2 went on to another huge success for Sony and because of this, the publisher continued to support the console wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, the PlayStation 2's "timeline" will be coming to an end soon, but before we jump into that, it's best we start at the beginning of this console's amazing history.

On the 1st of March, 1999, Sony announced the PlayStation 2. To many, this console was seen as a competitor to the first console released in the 6th console generation, the Dreamcast, which was released worldwide in late 1999. Despite Sony's announcement, the Dreamcast sold quite well, but the PlayStation 2's launch would soon change that.

The PlayStation 2 was initially released on the 4th of March, 2000 in Japan, selling nearly 1 million units on its launch day. Meanwhile, the console only arrived at North America and Europe on October and November respectively. Similar to Japan, the PlayStation 2 was an outstanding success in both continents, so much so that it was rare to find the console on retailers' shelves due to manufacturing delays. This left eBay as one of the few options left for those that desperately wanted the console, with many auctions selling the console for over one thousand dollars. The PlayStation 2's success brought problems to Sega, both financially and competitively. It wasn't the only factor, but ultimately they were forced to discontinue the production of the Dreamcast on March 2001, leaving Sony's console as the only active 6th generation console. However, this only lasted 6 months, as Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube joined in on the action later that year.

Despite its newer rivals, it was at this time (Fall 2001), that the PlayStation 2 lineup of games was starting to get strong. This saw the release of several blockbuster games such as Final Fantasy X, Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Grand Theft Auto III. The PlayStation 2 was also the starting point for many of the greatest gaming franchises, such as Jak & Daxter, God of War, Ratchet & Clank, Killzone, and the continuation for other franchises from Sony's previous console, such as Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil and Gran Turismo. Thanks to the release of great games such as these, and the fact that Sony managed to keep most of third-party franchises as exclusives on PlayStation 2, Sony were able to counter the Xbox's and GameCube's ascension. However, Sony didn't stop there, and in May 2002, the PlayStation saw a price cut from $299 to $199, making it $100 less than the Xbox, and costing the same as the GameCube.

In order to make the PlayStation 2 an even more appealing system, Sony decided to release accessories for the console. Some of these were meant to provide greater interaction with the console, such the PlayStation DVD Remote Control, USB Camera, USB Keyboard, and the Headset. On the other hand, several accessories were made specifically for certain games, including dance pads, microphones, guitar controllers, drums, and specialized controllers. In Late 2002, after seeing that the Xbox was "online capable," Sony decided to release the PlayStation Network Adapter allowing online play for the first time on PlayStation platforms.

In September 2004, Sony revealed a new model of the PlayStation 2, the PlayStation 2 Slimline, which was released worldwide later that year. This new version was smaller, thinner, and quieter than the older versions and included a built-in Internet port. However, due to its considerable smaller size, this version didn't have the 3.5 expansion bay, something that was highly criticized, due to the fact that this would pose a limitation on certain titles that required the use of HDD. This Slimline version also lacked an internal power supply. Along the years, Sony has made several revisions on PlayStation 2 Slimline in order to reduce even more of the console's weight. In November 2007, Sony released in Japan an even smaller model than the Slimline PlayStation 2 (many called it the Super Slim, however Sony continued to say that it was the Slimline PlayStation 2). This model was made available in the rest of the world in 2008.

Moving on to the present day, with the PlayStation 4 almost upon us, the PlayStation 2 is destined to not last much longer. Sony announced on the 4th of January, 2013 that PlayStation 2 had been discontinued for production. But even with this announcement, new games like Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin and FIFA 2014 were still being produced for the console. Sony's second system not only had one of the longest runs of all time for a video game console, but it also was the best-selling video game console of all time, selling over 155 million units, with more than 3,800 games available, and more than 1.5 billion games sold. Games from franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Gran Turismo, God of War, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid and Kingdom Hearts were among the best selling games of the PlayStation 2, with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas being the best-selling game on the system with 17.33 million copies sold.

Unfortunately, the PlayStation 2's life cycle came to an end in September. More precisely, on the 27th of September, with the release of FIFA 14, the last game to be released on the PlayStation 2. However, Konami announced at the Gamescom 2013 that Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 would also be coming to PlayStation 2, although no release date was revealed despite the current gens' versions releasing on the 20th of September. Either way, FIFA 14 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 will be the last games to be released on the system, and with their release, bring down the curtains on the PlayStation 2's 13 year old life cycle.

To honor the PlayStation 2's amazing cycle, we at Gaming Union decided to make a Top 100 Best PlayStation 2 Games List, so stay tuned for more information about this really soon.

What are your thoughts about the PlayStation 2? Do you think it was a good system? A step forward for video games? Do you think the PlayStation 3 is a worthy successor to the PlayStation 2? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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