- The PlayStation 2 debuted in 2000, March in Japan, October in the US, and November worldwide. The system sported a DVD drive, a first for game consoles, and may have been the key to quick adaptation of the new video format.
Sporting backwards compatibility with the first PlayStation, the system debuted with a gigantic library. Games made specifically for the PS2 have continued to debut since, even continuing after the release of the current generation of systems, including the PS3 from Sony.
Now, two years after the PS3's debut, Sony is releasing yet another revision of the PS2 in the US, having already released it in the rest of the world. Dubbed the SCPH-90000
, the model looks similar to the Slimline model introduced in 2004, but no longer has an external power adapter.
Why release another revision of the hardware? Well, 8 new releases came or are coming in August. 14 are due in September, 15 in October, 13 in November, and 6 more in December. With a constant stream of games like that, there seems to still be a demand. Oh, what a demand there is! According to the latest NPD numbers, over 155 thousand PS2s were sold in the US in July alone, bringing the system's US total to 42.5 million.
So, the demand is there, and the question becomes not if, but why? Why is a system with lower technology (which of course means lower end graphics) still getting new games and consistent sales? Price is certainly a factor, but the Xbox and Gamecube are considerably cheaper than the PS2. After all, they aren't even sold new anymore and can only be purchased at used gaming retailers. The system is getting new games, but at about half the rate of its new more powerful sibling.
One thing that may be helping the aged system stay alive is the floundering US economy. The difference between $130 (for a new PS2) and $250 (for a Wii or Xbox 360 Arcade) is a huge one for many families in the US. Also, with the PS3 costing no less than $400, parents may feel that's just too expensive for a toy for their kids.
The other thing that can't be overlooked isn't the new games, but the old ones. There are around 2000 games available for the PlayStation 2, with around 300 of those being in Sony's budget "Greatest Hits" line. With titles like Final Fantasy X, Lego Star Wars, and SSX 3, along with current or upcoming exclusives like Persona 3 and 4 and Yakuza 2 and still being included on multiplatform titles like Madden and Ghostbusters, the PS2 doesn't seem to be dying anytime soon.
How much life does the system have? Well, Sony wants the PlayStation 3 to last ten years. The PS2 only has about a year and a half to go to reach that decade mark and prove that it can be done.