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After 12 Years and 150 Million Units Sold, the PlayStation 2 Is Finally Done

Sony quietly puts an end to production on its most successful console to date.

R.I.P. PlayStation 2: 2000 - 2012
R.I.P. PlayStation 2: 2000 - 2012

Though the PlayStation 2 has been essentially démodé ever since its bigger, bulkier, more technologically advanced replacement came along in 2006, that doesn't mean the system just disappeared. In fact, it's been right there all along, still appearing on store shelves, and occasionally even maintaining just enough interest to ensure that, for a number of years after the PlayStation 3's arrival, PlayStation 2 ports of major titles still popped into existence.

No longer will this be the case, however. As of last week, Sony quietly shut down further production of the console in Japan, and over the weekend the console maker confirmed to The Guardian that the PlayStation 2 had reached its inevitable end.

The PlayStation 2 leaves the field as essentially the most successful home console ever produced. Over the course of its 12-year run, more than 150 million units were sold at retail, alongside countless titles produced by myriad publishers. Many of Sony's biggest current exclusive franchises, including Ratchet and Clank, Killzone, and God of War all originated on the system, while numerous major third party franchises, like Guitar Hero, Katamari Damacy, and, of course, Rockstar's 3D-flavored Grand Theft Auto III, all made their debuts there as well.

While it's always sad to hear about an old favorite finally exiting production, the truth is that the PS2 hasn't existed in any impactful capacity in years. Units have continued to sell in spurts, primarily in Japan (where the last few volleys of software have mostly originated as well), and there is even purportedly one remaining game releasing sometime in 2013--the Final Fantasy XI expansion Adoulin no Makyou. But trickling Final Fantasy XI expansions do not a console make. It's clear that the PS2's time was up a while ago. This is just the final death knell.

It was a legendary run, one that it seems increasingly unlikely any new console will overtake in the foreseeable future. But instead of hand-wringing over the future, let's take today to remember the past and bust out some of our most favorite PlayStation 2 games. I've already pulled out copies of Ape Escape 3, Tony Hawk 3, and the original Guitar Hero. Now if I could just find my original PS2 guitar controller...

Alex Navarro on Google+
229 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for mhumphreys89
Posted By MHumphreys89

People say the 360 is junk, I had 7 of these things. Disc Read Error among other things.

Avatar image for theswoosh
Posted By theswoosh

Before all you kids and your RRODs...

we had PS2 and disk read errors!

Avatar image for hawkerace
Posted By Hawkerace

Oh man I'm looking at my dusty PS2 and the library above it. Should I do it, should I do it!

Avatar image for shenstra
Posted By shenstra

@HaltIamReptar said:

@shenstra: Simulation is actually pretty good! You just need a solid computer if you want to upscale at all.

That's good to hear. I'm planning to buy a pretty decent rig some time soon and I don't care all that much about upscaling. I take it I can use my PS2 discs? 'Cause I'm fine with emulating hardware that isn't in production anymore, but I'd rather not get into downloading roms and such. Just looking for a way to play my collection in case my old-ass PS2 dies.

Avatar image for thekingoftoilets
Posted By thekingoftoilets

First game I had owned when I got my PS2 was FF-X. That awkward laugh scene still makes me laugh.

Avatar image for hmmjustabox
Posted By HmmJustABox

I almost miss those Disc Read Errors right now.

*pours one out*

Avatar image for mister_v
Posted By Mister_V

I had some of my most memorable gaming moments on my PS2. sad to see it go but it had a long life for a console.

Avatar image for cybexx
Posted By Cybexx

More than just ports, a few of the PS2's best games came out after the PS3 launched: God of War II (Early 2007), Persona 3 (Mid 2007), Persona 4 (Late 2008).

Avatar image for kosayn
Edited By Kosayn

pour one out...

The PS2 is that much greater, I think, because it overcame a lot of early skepticism from the community. The mags and fansites served up endless screenshots of jaggies, complaints about the price, and eager mockery of launch titles like Fantavision and Eternal Ring. But when unbelievable screens from games like MGS2, Tekken 4, and Silent Hill 2 started showing up, that tune changed. The fetishistic pursuit of the perfect marketing screenshot has pretty much not stopped since then.

Gaming grew up so much on the PS2. SH2 and Ico pioneered subtler storytelling in games. JRPGs boomed, trying to recapture Square and Nintendo's successes from the past generation. Even an RPG with middling gameplay like .Hack sold disproportionately well, pioneering the episodic game before online stores gave the concept a proper place. Despite only being a simulated MMO, it also raised awareness of them for a lot of people (WoW didn't hit till a year later). The PS2 brought us Xenosaga, Disgaea, DQ8 and FFX, among many others that are still influential. The JRPG heyday did die down eventually when the mainstream turned to shooters, but people are still raving about Persona 4.

Avatar image for haltiamreptar
Posted By HaltIamReptar

@shenstra: Simulation is actually pretty good! You just need a solid computer if you want to upscale at all.

Avatar image for shenstra
Posted By shenstra

I haven't been able to find a reasonably priced PS2 from a reliable retailer in Europe for two years or so, and I've looked! Best I've found is 280 Euros (370 USD) at Amazon.de. Might actually splurge for one now, seeing as it's definitely end-of-the-line for the PS2. Either that, or I'll finally get a Windows PC again and see where PS2 emulation is at.

Avatar image for ajayraz
Posted By AjayRaz

i love you, PS2. gonna go play some Burnout 3, Smackdown HCTP, GTA: SA and Dead or Alive 2 HC to honor it.

..it's a shame my copy of DRIV3R died on me.

Avatar image for ikabubu
Posted By ikabubu

Well, this is coincidentally timely. I just bust out my PS2 yesterday, because I had a huge nostalgia itch.

Took a stroll down my PS1 and PS2 library. A time when Japanese games dominated my collection, and, perhaps, when I was a little more naïve.

Popped in ZOE 2, We Love Katamari, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I also dusted-off some old PS1 memory cards (remember those things?) and put in Megaman X5, Wipeout 3, Strider 2, Megaman Legends 2, and, of course (to remind myself of my favorite game of all time,) Vagrant Story.

Avatar image for parsnip
Posted By Parsnip

I'll miss it, but I won't miss the two controllers that ended up leaking their hydraulics or something. And they weren't even in use at the time.

Avatar image for jaks
Posted By jaks

Not only one the best consoles ever, but reliable as all hell. I wonder how many of those 150 million were re-buys, compared to the 360 where probably half their consoles are replacements for busted ones. My original launch day PS2 works as well as it did the day I took it out of the box.

Avatar image for iceman228433
Posted By iceman228433

For me the ps2 was done with Persona 4 but hey what a way to go out. On a side note I completely forgot how that first ps2 design looked I have had the slim one for so long.

Avatar image for tireyo
Posted By Tireyo

I wouldn't mind having a PS2. Problem is, Nintendo and stupid life got me in its shackles.

Avatar image for rejizzle
Posted By Rejizzle

My PS3 just broke on me. But my PS2 lives on. God bless PS2, God bless.

Avatar image for high_seraph
Posted By high_seraph

The system that set the hook in my gaming addiction. Goodbye, my friend.

Avatar image for sagaciousjones
Posted By SagaciousJones

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/video-game-article/ouya-minecraft-ps2.php

"Twelve years after the PlayStation 2 debuted, production has officially come to an end.

Sony officials were surprised when they wandered into one of their forgotten factories and noticed that all the lights were on, with all sorts of large machines mass producing PlayStation 2 units. The Sony businessmen - having assumed that they stopped making the console once the PS3 launched - grasped the sides of their heads and opened their mouths in comedic shock.

After unplugging all of the machines and flicking the lights on and off, the executives shooed the factory workers from the building. Finally, they turned to one another and breathed a sigh of relief, thankful to have caught the mistake before it could cost them even more money.

Then, one executive asked if the others heard a noise coming from the old PlayStation 1 factory."

Avatar image for sanity
Edited By Sanity

RIP odd looking blue purpleish disks.

Avatar image for mjhealy
Posted By MjHealy

Ah, the PS2, she was a fine servant to me over the years. I cracked it open again last summer and she was still doing. Lot of great games over the years. It was a fantastic system, even if I went through about three of them.

Avatar image for mr__kamikaze
Posted By Mr. Kamikaze

Really? Thought they stopped like...years ago. Well...this is kinda a bummer. I suddenly find myself regretting giving my PS2 away....maybe I should go get myself a new one....

Avatar image for wrenchninja
Edited By WrenchNinja

@thabigred said:

No Caption Provided

Up there with the Big Boss salute. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando was my first PS2 game, lots of great memories with the system. Definitely best console and library ever. Only the SNES comes close.

Avatar image for triviaman09
Posted By triviaman09

pour one out

Avatar image for behonkiss
Posted By Behonkiss

The PS2 is tied with the SNES as my all-time favorite console. So many fun and imaginative games were on that system. I just wish my PS3 Slim could play PS2 discs, as I gave the PS2 to my brother when he moved and now miss it dearly.

Avatar image for pimblycharles
Posted By PimblyCharles

It's amazing that new PS2s were still being manufactured up til' now. What an amazing console!

Avatar image for tmbaker
Posted By TMBaker

...and I never owned one. A salute none the less.

Avatar image for reflekshun
Posted By reflekshun

Nice homage Alex!

Avatar image for kaowas
Posted By Kaowas

My parents bought me a PS2 back in October of 2000 and it's still working to this day as if it's brand new. Never once did I have a problem with it. I hope that when I've got kids of my own, I can potentially give them all of my childhood consoles, the PS2 included.

Avatar image for fredchuckdave
Posted By Fredchuckdave

On the most successful console to date* (by far)

Avatar image for darkbeatdk
Posted By DarkbeatDK

Now can finally put the PS2 games in storage since it's not the current gen anymore.

Avatar image for warfare
Posted By Warfare

*salute*

Avatar image for tzarstefan
Posted By TzarStefan

I still got my European launch model, i hope it doesn't die on me  :(

Avatar image for thehbk
Posted By TheHBK

Loved my PS2, never liked those Sony franchises that originated on it, except Jak and Daxter. Killzone still sucks.

Avatar image for veektarius
Posted By Veektarius

@SirOptimusPrime said:

@Crono said:

@Veektarius said:

I will remember the PS2 best for the first game I played on it, Summoner. I loved that game.

Same. Summoner was amazing at the time! Looking back on it now I laugh thinking about how much I enjoyed it because its really not that great of a game, but at the time it was one of the best games you could get at launch.

I still have my original copy, and going back...

That game is a big fucking mess. That stupid stealth section at the very beginning of the game? The slow pace, and not even having a full party until you're done with the first continent? The plot was at least mildly, sort of - in a way - interesting. Also, it was the first time I was exposed to that D&D sketch in the post-credits.

It definitely had some frustrating parts, but I thought the story was a big plus - dark western RPGs were a rarity on consoles at the time, and I enjoyed the chain system of combat (like a primitive version of the Witcher). Also, I enjoyed using the summons as a party member. I guess FFXIII-2 did that recently, with the problem that the summon didn't look badass. Still, I'm probably kidding myself if I tried to claim I could stand to play through it again.

Online
Avatar image for porkellain
Posted By Porkellain

@LikeaSsur: hey I just said that I love you :<

Avatar image for likeassur
Posted By LikeaSsur

@Porkellain said:

I love you English-speaking guys when you try to speak Italian awkwardy quoting AC2. That should have been "Arrivederci, amico", or "Hasta luego, compadre".

First of all, the sentiment doesn't change, so who cares? Second of all, you should have lived long enough on this planet to know that languages are mixed in mid-sentence all the time. You've probably done it before. Third of all, fourth of all.

Anyway, thanks for all the memories, PS2. You helped me meet my best friend and create countless memories with others. I'll never forget you.

Avatar image for greeny83
Posted By Greeny83

@Korolev said:

Damn - I've got to run out and get one of the slim PS2s. My old one just died, and if I ever want to play my PS2 games again, I'll need to get one.

Get two! I'm actually thinking of buying another slim just for a backup.

Avatar image for theht
Posted By TheHT

Goodnight sweet prince(ss).

Avatar image for korolev
Posted By Korolev

Damn - I've got to run out and get one of the slim PS2s. My old one just died, and if I ever want to play my PS2 games again, I'll need to get one.

Avatar image for pakattak
Edited By pakattak

Man I loved that thing. I still remember the first day I played one when I was 14. It was Christmas time, drizzling outside, and I was playing some Jak and Daxter. The Sentinel Beach theme kicked in and I was in love.

I need to get me another PS2. My old one busted and I hate playing PS2 games on my PS3 because of the input lag.

Avatar image for rhombus_of_terror
Posted By Rhombus_Of_Terror

@RudeCubes said:

Best Of PS2 stream pls

Vinny should host it, so they can go online to find some cheats...

Avatar image for greeny83
Posted By Greeny83

@whatisdelicious said:

@Greeny83: I totally agree that the sales of the PS2 helped them stay afloat, but that's also because they made some very expensive decisions regarding the PS3 that it sounds like they're smartly avoiding with the PS4. Think about it though: the PS2 was supported and manufactured almost all the way up until the introduction of the PS4. If you're a parent or somebody who doesn't play games that often, there's not much incentive to upgrade. So yeah, the PS2 was definitely helpful in keeping Sony going while they were being hurt by how expensive the PS3 was, but I also think it'd be crazy to say that it didn't also negatively impact the PS3's sales in a pretty significant way.

I think that even if the PS3 weren't so expensive, it still would have struggled. The launch titles just weren't all that impressive. Not to say that the 360's launch lineup was any better(because it wasn't), but it did have a year headstart, which mattered in this case. Add to that the lackluster ports and inferior versions of multiplatform games, and the PS3 would have had a hard time regardless of price. And even if the PS4 has a "perfect" launch, there will still be people that wait to upgrade. Better to keep your previous console alive and get money out of those people than to stop supporting it and not bring in that revenue.

Avatar image for rachelepithet
Posted By rachelepithet

Whats the last SKU?

Avatar image for angerpanda
Posted By AngerPanda

The stuff of legends, this one. My PS2 game collection is massive and I still pick up the occasional game for cheap at Play N' Trade, Half Price Books or Disc Replay (a midwest store). Got mine in January of 2002 and it's still hooked up to a TV (well, not the same PS2, I've since gotten a slim one). Favorite games were: Bully, Final Fantasy XII, Rule of Rose, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Grand Theft Auto III, Silent Hill 2, Suikoden III, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and Persona 4. Dammit, I'll have to go make a proper list now.

Avatar image for olivaw
Posted By Olivaw

Robot Alchemic Drive was an awesome PS2 game. So was Way of the Samurai (and to a much lesser extent, Way of the Samurai 2).

And let us never forget Clover Studios. God Hand, Viewtiful Joe, Okami. They had a brief but brilliant run.

The PS2 is dead. Long live the PS2!

Avatar image for extrasuperdanks
Posted By ExtraSuperDanks

this is kind of...old news isnt it?

Avatar image for haltiamreptar
Posted By HaltIamReptar

Impactful is a word invented by marketers with a crummy understanding of the English language

Avatar image for foxmulder
Posted By foxmulder

Came into the the PS2 pretty late in it's cycle. I had A Game Cube from nearly the start of the generation and finally matured into an Xbox around the time that Halo 2 was set to come out. Asked for Wii the year it came out and my mom got me a PS2 slim instead. I was on the verge of returning it to buy a Wii, but something changed my mind. Probably because the Game Cube pretty much peaked at Smash Bros Melee for me and the Xbox had run it's course. That and I played my brothers PS2 a ton when he wasn't using it. I loved the MGS series and played what I could on those other two consoles, but when MGS3: Subsistence came out I just needed to play that game. That and neither the GC or Xbox (w/o the adapter) could play DVDs.

So I stuck with it, and boy was I glad I did! Even though I had it for less time, I ended up owning more PS2 games than Xbox games. I could rattle off the list, but it's pretty much the same games that made the console so successful. To this day it still has the best esclusive games. Hell, I even bought a copy of Silent Hill 2 after enjoying 1 from a free PS+ relese and seeing that the HD collection was busted! I had plans to play some of my PS2 games this year, but most of them came out in HD form eventually. Such a superb console! One that will still stay near a TV for atleast a few more years!