Note: Originally posted on Manic Expression on February 8, 2013.

The PlayStation 2 has recently gone out of production as of January 4, 2013. After over a decade of success that continued even after its successor came out in 2006, it is now the best selling home video game console, with only the Nintendo DS slightly beating it in overall sales. It has long outlived its competitors, the original Xbox and the Nintendo Gamecube. For a while, even after the PlayStation 3 came out, it was trounced in sales by its older predecessor. Why is it that the PlayStation 2 made such a large impact on gaming culture as well as the general public?

In fact, the sheer announcement of the PlayStation 2 back in March 1999 caused people to question whether or not the then upcoming Sega Dreamcast would be as successful as Sega were expecting it to be. While the Dreamcast was initially successful when it first came out later that year, the looming release of the PlayStation 2 ultimately prevented the system from gaining the momentum needed to truly proclaim the console a success.


Not only that, but the PlayStation 2 played a big part in the massive growth of popularity that the DVD format in the years after its release. Before that, while the DVD format was novel to a lot of people, it was question if it could overthrow the then standard VHS format. However, thanks to the release of the PS2, the DVD format slowly but surely took over the video market and is still the dominant video format to this day, even after the Blu-Ray format made its appearance in 2006.

Most importantly, it had a multitude of highly anticipated games that made it a must-own console from day one. While the launch titles were considered a let down for the most part, the games promised for the system, as well as the system of the original PlayStation, ensured that the system would see instant success from the start. Gamers were highly anticipating games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X, both of which would go on to sell over 7 million copies worldwide. Like its predecessor, it was also considered the definitive console for fans of Japanese RPGs.

Interestingly enough, the console actually had weaker specs than either the Gamecube or the original Xbox. Despite this, it would be by far the best selling console of the three. This trend actually continued into the next generation of consoles with the Nintendo Wii selling far more units than the much more powerful Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It just goes to show that a console doesn’t need the most powerful technical specs to come out on top in the end.

The PlayStation 2 has many reasons for its longevity. The sheer amount of variety of games on the system, the goodwill from gamers who owned the original PlayStation, and the promise of incredible gaming experiences all contributed to making the console as successful as it ended up being.


To be continued in part 2 where we go over the games that contributed in the success of the PS2 in some way.

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