When the original PlayStation was released in 1994 it was a turning point in gaming. In the aftermath of a falling out between Sony and Nintendo during a brief love affair. To say the PlayStation was a success would be an understatement, but there was more to the success of this machine than met the eye. Read on to find out more!
Right from the start Sony aimed to make the PS2 a direct competitor to the Sega Dreamcast. By this point, Sega already had a bloody nose from the lackluster success of the Saturn in the previous console war, and were making one final attempt at maintaining their place in the industry. Meanwhile, Sony had more than enough confidence in their brand (and in their wallets) to produce a new console that could rival Sega’s despite the Dreamcast getting a full fifteen months head start on its release. Nevertheless the Dreamcast had a reasonably successful launch in its first week and the titles released were largely of a very high standard. However at the same time, there were many gamers who were lying in wait with their money, having already been won over by Sony.
By the time of the PS2’s North American release in late 2000 there were already too many pre-orders for Sony to keep up with. To make things just a little more complex, Sony was plagued with early manufacturing delays that meant only half of the required amount of consoles were delivered at first. This led to a mad dash for certain customers who were desperate to get hold of one before Christmas. On Ebay for example, it was not unusual for PS2’s to sell at twice their retail price, with some famously selling for upwards of $1000. At the time there was also a strange rumour running around the American press that Saddam Hussein was hunting for PS2’s in order to use their CPU’s collectively to build a super-computer. Another rumour even said that in the end he settled for four-thousand PSone’s because of the shortage.
The PS2 had its fair number of hit games. This was the generation of gaming that saw Grand Theft Auto realised in glorious 3D with numerous successful installments, with San Andreas being released in time for Sony to re-release the console in a slim-line version. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and MGS3: Snake Eater, and Final Fantasy X also proved to be huge draws for the system, and it introduced the world to the very first Guitar Hero released which would become the great obsession of many a house-party with its various sequels. It is safe to say though that the legacy of the PS2 is not down to its games or its hardware. Over its thirteen years in production there is not much about the system that was ever truly revolutionary despite its huge success. In terms of graphical capability the PS2 was on par with the Dreamcast, but lagged behind in terms of its other rivals. Instead, the thing that will always be remembered about the PS2 was that it changed the face of the gaming industry completely. It successfully knocked Sega completely out of any future hardware development and made Nintendo appear to be a third rate company by comparison.
Meanwhile Microsoft took what it learned from carefully watching Sony’s marketing and produced their own machine that not only matched the adult seriousness of the PS2, but eventually brought online gaming to the masses. The PS2 made sure that gaming was no longer about Mario and Sonic, but in a new millennium brought about the age of Solid Snake and the Master Chief.