Though Sony has kept details of the PlayStation 2's development secret, work on the console began around the time that the original PlayStation was released in late West Coast by former members of Argonaut Software. The video game console was positioned as a competitor to Sega 's Dreamcast , the first sixth-generation console to be released, although ultimately the main rivals of the PS2 were Nintendo 's GameCube and Microsoft 's Xbox.
Later, Sony added new development kits for game developers and more PS2 units for consumers. The PS2's built-in functionality also expanded its audience beyond the gamer,  as its debut pricing was the same or less than a standalone DVD player. This made the console a low-cost entry into the home theater market. The success of the PS2 at the end of caused Sega problems both financially and competitively, and Sega announced the discontinuation of the Dreamcast in March , just 18 months after its successful Western launch.
Despite the Dreamcast still receiving support through , the PS2 remained the only sixth-generation console for over 6 months before it faced competition from new rivals: Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox. Many analysts predicted a close three-way matchup among the three consoles.
The Xbox had the most powerful hardware, while the GameCube was the least expensive console, and Nintendo changed its policy to encourage third-party developers. While the PlayStation 2 theoretically had the weakest specification of the three, it had a head start due to its installed base plus strong developer commitment, as well as a built-in DVD player the Xbox required an adapter, while the GameCube lacked support entirely.
It also planned to cut the price in Japan around that time. Sony, unlike Sega with its Dreamcast, originally placed little emphasis on online gaming during its first few years, although that changed upon the launch of the online-capable Xbox. Although Sony and Nintendo both started out late, and although both followed a decentralized model of online gaming where the responsibility is up to the developer to provide the servers, Sony's moves made online gaming a major selling point of the PS2.
In preparation for the launch of the new models SCPHxxx , Sony stopped making the older models SCPHxxx to let the distribution channel empty its stock of the units. During one week in November, British sales totalled 6, units—compared to 70, units a few weeks prior.
The PlayStation 2 also supports PlayStation memory cards and controllers, although original PlayStation memory cards will only work with original PlayStation games  and the controllers may not support all functions such as analog buttons for PlayStation 2 games. A hard disk drive can be installed in an expansion bay on the back of the console, and is required to play certain games, notably the popular Final Fantasy XI.
Additionally, an RF modulator is available for the system to connect to older TVs. PlayStation 2 users had the option to play select games over the Internet , using dial-up or a broadband Internet connection. The PlayStation 2 Network Adaptor was required for the original models, while the slim models included networking ports on the console. Instead of having a unified, subscription-based online service like Xbox Live as competitor Microsoft later chose for its Xbox console, online multiplayer functionality on the PlayStation 2 was the responsibility of the game publisher and ran on third-party servers.
Many games that supported online play exclusively supported broadband Internet access. The PS2 has undergone many revisions,  some only of internal construction and others involving substantial external changes. The PS2 is primarily differentiated between models featuring the original "fat" case design and "slimline" models, which were introduced at the end of The PS2 standard color is matte black. Several variations in color were produced in different quantities and regions, including ceramic white, light yellow, metallic blue aqua , metallic silver, navy star blue , opaque blue astral blue , opaque black midnight black , pearl white, sakura purple, satin gold, satin silver, snow white, super red, transparent blue ocean blue , and also Limited Edition color Pink, which was distributed in some regions such as Oceania, and parts of Asia.
In September , Sony unveiled its third major hardware revision. Available in late October , it was smaller, thinner, and quieter than the original versions and included a built-in Ethernet port in some markets it also had an integrated modem. Due to its thinner profile, it did not contain the 3. It also lacked an internal power supply until a later revision excluding the Japan version , similar to the GameCube , and had a modified Multitap expansion.
The removal of the expansion bay was criticized as a limitation due to the existence of titles such as Final Fantasy XI , which required the use of the HDD. The device was released in Japan on December 13, , and was the first Sony product to include the XrossMediaBar interface. It did not sell well in the Japanese market and was not released anywhere else. The lawsuit addresses consumer reports of inappropriate "no disc" error disc read error messages and other problems associated with playing DVDs and CDs on the PlayStation 2.
This settlement was subject to the courts' approval, and hearings began in the US and Canada on April 28, , and May 11, , respectively. The PlayStation 2 offered some particularly high-profile exclusive games. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was the best-selling game on the console. Game releases peaked in , but declined with the release of the PlayStation 3 in As of June 30, , a total of 10, software titles had been released worldwide including games released in multiple regions as separate titles.
Initial reviews in of the PlayStation 2 acclaimed the console, with reviewers commending its hardware and graphics capabilities, its ability to play DVDs, and the system's backwards compatibility with games and hardware for the original PlayStation. Early points of criticism included the lack of online support at the time, its inclusion of only two controller ports, and the system's price at launch compared to the Dreamcast in Later reviews, especially after the launch of the competing GameCube and Xbox systems, continued to praise the PlayStation 2's large game library and DVD playback, while routinely criticizing the PlayStation 2's lesser graphics performance compared to the newer systems and its rudimentary online service compared to Xbox Live.
In , CNET rated the console 7. CNET also criticized the DVD playback functionality, claiming that the console's video quality was "passable" and that the playback controls were "rudimentary", recommending users to purchase a remote control. The console's two controller ports and expensiveness of its memory cards were also a point of criticism.
The slim model of the PlayStation 2 received positive reviews, especially for its incredibly small size and built-in networking. The slim console's requirement for a separate power adapter was often criticized while the top-loading disc drive was often noted as being far less likely to break compared to the tray-loading drive of the original model. Demand for the PlayStation 2 remained strong throughout much of its lifespan, selling over 1.
Over Overall, over million PlayStation 2 units were sold worldwide by March 31, , the year Sony officially stopped supplying updated sales numbers of the system. However, it includes analog pressure sensitivity on the face, shoulder and D-pad buttons, replacing the digital buttons of the original. It is lighter and includes two more levels of vibration. The original PS2 multitap SCPH cannot be plugged into the newer slim models, as the multitap connects to the memory card slot as well as the controller slot and the memory card slot on the slimline is shallower.
New slim-design multitaps SCPH were manufactured for these models; however, third-party adapters also exist to permit original multitaps to be used. Early versions of the PS2 could be networked via an i. LINK port, though this had little game support and was dropped. Some third party manufacturers have created devices that allow disabled people to access the PS2 through ordinary switches, etc.
Some third-party companies, such as JoyTech , have produced LCD monitor and speaker attachments for the PS2, which attach to the back of the console. These allow users to play games without access to a television as long as there is access to mains electricity or a similar power source. These screens can fold down onto the PS2 in a similar fashion to laptop screens. Konami microphones for use with the Karaoke Revolution games, dual microphones sold with and used exclusively for SingStar games , various "guitar" controllers for the Guitar Freaks series and Guitar Hero series , the drum set controller sold in a box set or by itself with a "guitar" controller and a USB microphone for use with Rock Band and Guitar Hero series, World Tour and newer , and a taiko drum controller for Taiko: Drum Master.
Using homebrew programs, it is possible to play various audio and video file formats on a PS2. Homebrew programs can also be used to play patched backups of original PS2 DVD games on unmodified consoles, and to install retail discs to an installed hard drive on older models. Homebrew emulators of older computer and gaming systems have been developed for the PS2. This allows users to create simple programs for the PS2. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see PS2 disambiguation.
Sixth-generation and second home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. JP : December 28, . WW : January 4, . Video output formats. Main article: PlayStation 2 technical specifications. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: PlayStation 2 online functionality.
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