We recall the most successful game console, which has already gone the third decade.
20 years ago, in March of the two thousandth year, Sony released the most successful console in history to the Japanese market – Playstation 2. For some, she became a faithful fighting friend. For someone – remained a pipe dream. But this is precisely what the “second curling iron” did not know how to do, so it caused indifference. No wonder this little nut-nut cut all the competitors in the sixth cantilever generation. Over its long life, PS2 has sold over 155 million devices. This is three times more than total sales Sega dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft xbox, the other three pillars of the generation. What is the secret of such success? Now we will tell.
Sony announced work on a new console in 1999. The project was led by Ken Kutaragi – the head of development of the first Playstationwho later engaged PlayStation portable and PS3. Under his leadership, the console received not only powerful hardware with a modest price tag, but also some very cool chips for its time.
Let’s say the PlayStation 2 was the first-ever home set-top box that could be installed not only horizontally, but also vertically. The usual opportunity today at that time made the already unusual, “cosmic” design even more futuristic. At Microsoft a similar option appeared only five years later, in Xbox 360. In general, I wanted to have such a thing in the living room. The PS2 looked especially cool against the backdrop of some GameCube that looked like an absurd purple plastic toy for children.
In short, the PlayStation 2 fell in love with one of its kind. But the most interesting thing about her was not outside, but inside. Under the hood of this beauty, a truly powerful heart was beating. It was a sixty four bit Emotion Engine central processor clocked at up to 299 megahertz. The company amounted to 32 megabytes of RAM and 4 megabytes of video memory. All this provided a very solid performance by the standards of the beginning of zero. Of course six with a penny gigabyteflops a little do not reach four teraflops PS4 Pro, but 20 years ago they looked very serious.
At the same time, at the launch of the PlayStation 2 it cost only $ 299. With such a modest price, the technical parameters looked not just impressive, but rather suspicious. After the September 11 tragedy in the USA, even rumors began to spread that the Arab terrorists were buying up the console with might and main to build cluster supercomputers on its basis. As a result, Sony had to closely monitor the sales of its system so that the PS2 didn’t fall into Osama bin Laden’s hands. The story of supercomputers for Islamic radicals doesn’t sound very realistic, but Western legal scholars did exactly the same thing, so there was definitely a basis for the rumors.
PS2 in general can be called the most open console for experimentation in the Japanese giant lineup. For her, there was even a special kit with the Linux operating system, a keyboard, a mouse, a network adapter and a 40 gigabyte hard drive. Yes, console games did not work in this system, and the package itself soon disappeared from the sale, but the precedent should not be forgotten. Accessories that can legally turn a console into a full-fledged computer are not dance mats and other guitars with buttons. The PlayStation 2 even had its own interpreter for one of the Basic versions, available on a demo disc in Australia and Europe.
Unfortunately, an attempt to make a home PC out of a game console failed. Of course, the opportunity to do programming on the console was expensive, but few people were actually interested. But the ability to play DVDs is another matter. At the time of its release, PS2 turned out to be one of the most affordable DVD players on the market, so even those who disdained games bought it. Later, the same trick was repeated by the PS3 with standard Blu-ray discs.
By the way, you could watch movies on PS2 not only from discs. In 2006, the console exclusively for Brazil even launched Netflix. An almost full-fledged streaming service during the time of the universal dial-up is a thing ahead of its time.
The main thing is that Sony, in pursuit of the new, has not forgotten fans of the classics. PS2 was backward compatible with almost all the predecessor’s game library. That is, right out of the box, I did what the PlayStation 4 today can only with a huge creak and a carriage of online crutches. Moreover, PS2 even supported controllers and memory cards with saves from the previous console. So the transition from the fifth generation to the sixth for fans of “curling iron” was very smooth. And no “who will play this?”
All this spurred the popularity of the console, which in 2004 received a slim version. She became smaller, quieter and prettier. In addition to the updated design, a fresh revision brought an integrated network adapter, which before that was a separate option. These are now several versions of the same consoles that sell at the same time, are considered the norm. But before PS2, such profound innovations within the framework of one generation of consoles were not met.
PlayStation 2 also had another version called PSX, but somehow it wasn’t accepted to recall it. The fact is that although she could play games, she was, rather, a digital video recorder. Complete with the PSX was not the usual DualShock gamepad, but a remote control. So the controller for games to the game console had to be bought separately. This contraption also looked far less impressive than a regular PS2. The PSX was more like a hybrid VCR and Xbox one. But she was able to such that the eighth generation of consoles did not even dream of. For example, burn DVD discs, edit video, audio and photos, and even play analog television. The thing was a failure, but unique in its own way.
But no technical and design tricks will make the game console popular without the main thing – games. For the long life of PS2, four and a half thousand releases were released on it. And some of them determined the modern look of the gaming industry.
First of all, of course, you should thank the internal studios. Sony Santa Monica gave the world a series God of war. Naughty dogfuture authors Uncharted and The last of uscreated three parts Jak & daxter. Sucker punch long before Infamous famous for platformers Sly cooper. Insomniac games started the series Ratchet & clank. Team Ico forever inscribed themselves in history as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
Third-party publishers and studios worked just as well. It was on PS2 for the first time Devil may cry and Okami from Capcom, Kingdom Hearts from Square enix and the first three-dimensional parts GTA from Rockstar…
List all the top games that came out on the PlayStation 2 is difficult – and pointless. The main thing is that these were excellent projects, many of which you can play with pleasure today, 20 years after the release of the console.
It is not surprising that dramas and melodramas were played out around the PS2. Even at the very launch, during an acute shortage of new consoles, there were even reports from Japan that one of the Sony fans committed suicide. The reason for the tragedy was that the guy could not buy a fresh console. A very sad and at the same time strange story.
And in 2002, an accident happened rather funny than tragic. The British PlayStation fan Dan Holmes loved his console so much that he even decided to marry her. Having received a legitimate refusal from the priest and secular authorities, Holmes went the other way and changed his name to Mr. PlayStation 2. It is not known whether this brought him personal happiness. But here’s a collection of games priced at £ 7,000 – for sure.
In general, both sad and funny in the fate of PS2 was enough. Unfortunately, any story ends sooner or later. At the turn of 2012 and 2013, the last conveyors that released PlayStation 2 stood up. And on September 24, 2013, the last game for our heroine premiered. PS2 became the swan song FIFA 14 from Electronic arts.
PlayStation 2 has lived a long and eventful life. Thirteen years is almost a console record. Was she a good prefix? Oh no. She was the best.
And what memories do you have about the PlayStation 2? Be sure to tell in the comments.