15 years ago, Sony’s Playstation 2 hit markets, quickly establishing itself as one of the best-loved and most popular videogame consoles of all time. Expanding heavily on what had made the original Playstation so well liked, the PS2 offered enhanced graphics, a library of games which would make any other device jealous, and some nifty media capabilities that thrilled users.
No doubt about it, the PS2 was special, and incredibly remains a valid piece of hardware to this day. Sure, later consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox One blow it out of the water, but there’s still something so endearing about the sleek black design, the little spinning Playstation logo on the disc tray, and the charming quality possessed by many of the games available on the system.
To this day, people are still playing their PS2 consoles, which really goes to show what kind of mark the system has left on the gaming world. Definitely one of the greatest machines of all time, the Playstation 2 still has some facts that gamers are only finding out all these years later.
Contained here are 8 of the most interesting factoids from the PS2’s life span, proving once again just how awesome this piece of kit was, and remains to be.
The official PS2 Memory Card was 8MB, which is a laughably small amount of data nowadays. The average built-in hard drive for a PS4 or Xbox One is 500GB, which really shows how gaming has come in leaps and bounds over the years, mainly due to the requirements for downloadable updates and full games themselves.
In 2002, following a number of disputes with third party developers, Sony simply couldn’t match the demand for Memory Cards from the PS2’s millions of users. This led to a real shortage of the small plastic chips, something which outraged a lot of players.
Nowadays, on systems such as the PS Vita, Sony enjoys only offering memory support for their own officially released SD cards, and maybe this lack of third party support first surfaced with the PS2.
Going back to the first entry in this article, many gamers elected to stand their PS2 console upright, making it look for all the world like a desktop computer. Only adding to the idea, Sony released Linux on a disc, something which enabled people to use the console as a PC.
Going further, this also allowed tech-savvy users to transform their PS2 into a development kit, using open source code to get creative and make their own games. These home-made titles wouldn’t work on an unmodded PS2, but it was still a cool feature, something extra for folks to play around with.
A pack including the Linux disc, an ethernet adaptor, a keyboard and mouse, a VGA adaptor and a 40GB hard-drive were released, only expanding the PS2’s capabilities, making it more than simply a standard videogame console.
In 2002, a man originally called Dan Holmes so loved Sony’s latest console that he decided it was high-time he changed his name to 'Playstation 2.' One of the most bizarre and frankly strange stories to ever come out of the gaming universe, Mr. Holmes must have had quite the chat with his family over the unique decision!
Speaking candidly about his choice, Mr. Playstation 2 also expressed his interest in marrying the machine, remarking that he couldn’t find a vicar who would officially wed him with his beloved. Born out of harmless teasing from friends, who couldn’t believe how much their pal was enjoying his time with the PS2, the decision by Holmes to legally change his name to ‘Playstation 2′ still has people chuckling today.
It’s funny now, but in the late 2000s, reports emerged that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were stockpiling thousands of PS2 consoles, looking to modify the machines into military weapons. The story was all over the place at the time, widely reported on by huge news conglomerates such as CNN, the BBC and NBC.
Due to fears that the PS2 was so powerful it could be used for terrorism, an export embargo was placed on the console in Japan, meaning shipping of the system was closely monitored. Of course, this didn’t hurt sales whatsoever, because once the news realized that the story was utterly ridiculous, it was business as usual for Sony.
There have been theories since that this was nothing more than a story pedaled by Sony themselves to help make the machine seem more powerful, which is unlikely, but nonetheless intriguing.
Boot up any PS2 console, and a series of white towers/blocks are displayed, shooting up towards the player and then branching off as the main menu is brought up. At first, it seems like this is simply a series of random blocks aiming to look futuristic and give the user a brief, snappy intro as the system boots up.
Instead, each white tower represents a saved game file on the inserted memory card, which is pretty fascinating. Load up the console without a memory card inserted, and there aren’t any towers. Do so with a full one, and suddenly these white and silver blocks dominate the screen. This was a small design choice which adds another cool vibe to the PS2.
To this day, the Playstation 2 has sold over 157 million units, making it the best selling videogame machine in history. Compare that to the Nintendo Wii, which has shipped just over 100 million units, and the number becomes even more impressive.
Perhaps customers are enthused by the vast library of games the PS2 has to offer, or maybe the kicker was DVD support, but whatever the case, Sony’s vibrant machine kicked some serious videogame market ass, knocking every other competitor out of the park with what they had up their sleeves.
Only in the past few years have sales slowed for the console, which had quite the life span.
Being released in 2000, the Playstation 2 was superseded in 2006 by the Playstation 3. Superseded, yes, but not replaced. Continuing support for the PS2 right up until 2013, Sony lastly released both FIFA 14 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 on their aging device, a fitting send-off for the machine, seeing as football/soccer games had been part of the reason why so many checked it out in the first place.
It’s unbelievable to think that the PS2 had Sony’s full backing for around 13 years. By contrast, the infamous Sega Mega Drive experienced less than a decade of support from its developer, meaning the PS2 stands proud as one of the longest-running consoles in videogame history, certainly for first-party support.
For those gamers who quickly moved onto PS3, it must be strange to think people were still buying and playing PS2 games as recently as 2013.
Exclusively available in Brazil, Netflix first landed on a gaming console with the PS2. Coming as an install disc, Brazilian gamers were able to enjoy a library of streaming movies and TV shows through their Playstation 2 machine, making the console truly ground-breaking.
Nowadays, Netflix is available as a downloadable app from both the Playstation Network and Xbox Live, but it’s captivating to think that years ago, the streaming service was on Sony’s trusty PS2. Reasons for why Netflix wasn’t readily accessible on PS2 consoles in the UK, North America and elsewhere around the world remain unclear, but it was another cool addition for Brazilian players to one of the most varied and distinct video game units ever to be released.