Sony has recently announced that they will stop manufacturing the infamous gaming console, the PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 2 was launched 12 years ago in the year 2000 and since then it has sold approximately 150 million units worldwide.
Experts have said that it defined a generation of gaming and it was easily the most successful gaming
console of all time. Industry experts say that with the advent of tablets, smartphones and other devices suitable for gaming, it is unlikely that a console will ever command the market the way the PlayStation 2 did or sell nearly as many units.
The PlayStation 2 was launched as a successor to the original PlayStation and by 2011 had a library of more than 10,000 game titles with individual games sales totaling approximately 1.52billion.
There were numerous reasons that the PlayStation 2 did so well, but experts have attributed its record breaking success down to 3 main factors; cunning design, brilliant games and fantastic timing.
Sony’s decision to include a DVD player in the device meant that it found its way out of many teenagers’ bedrooms into the family shared living room, ensuring that many more people were exposed to gaming.
It was way more powerful than its closest rivals – Nintendo GameCube and Sega Dreamcast. It also became the exclusive home of many extremely popular game titles like Grand Theft Auto III, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. The PlayStation 2 dominated a changing era of gaming where developers were challenging the parameters of game design and creating expansive open-world adventures with dazzling, impressive graphics.
Anna Marsh, a game designer who worked on Tomb Raider and Hitman said; “At the height of the PlayStation 2′s success, the word effectively came to mean video games for a lot of people.”
But in the 12 years since the PlayStation 2 was launched and made its way into the record books, the gaming industry has changed dramatically and the poor sales of Sony’s handheld device the PS Vita are an indicator of this. Sony has sold just 4million units in the 10 months since its launch because people just don’t need to fork out extra cash for a handheld console and its games. They can just as easily download games for the smartphone, tablet or PC for next to nothing.
“The industry has become so fractured, I’m not sure we’ll see another console that gets that sort of penetration into the public consciousness,” said Marsh.
These problems for the home console market had already started emerging in 2006 when the PlayStation 3 was launched. That was intended to be a bigger, badder more powerful PlayStation 2 equipped with Bluray player. However it never came close to achieving the dizzy heights of its predecessor selling less than half the amount with approximately 70million units. It was released just a year after rivals Microsoft released the Xbox 360, however Sony’s console never caught up with their rivals despite boasting strong games and a free online multiplayer service.
Both Microsoft and Sony are expected to launch a new console this year, however the Xbox 720 and the PlayStation 4 will be hard pushed to be as successful in the market as their predecessors.