After nearly thirteen years, the PlayStation 2 is finally starting its slow ride into the sunset. The best selling home console ever made is still a sales force around the world getting new releases like FIFA 13 in countries across Europe and Asia. In its homeland, though, the PlayStation 2 is at the end of the road.
Famitsu magazine announced on Friday that Sony will officially stop shipping new PlayStation2 consoles to the Japanese market. The PlayStation 2 made its first public debut at a pre-E3 Sony event in April 1999. Early games like Namco’s Tekken Tag Tournament and Squaresoft’s (the previous incarnation of Square-Enix) The Bouncer wowed audiences with their high-end graphics. When the console released in Japan on March 4, 2000 it was an immediate sales success though its launch line up of games received a critical drubbing. The same was true following the console’s release in the United States in October 2000. Though game makers accused Sony’s hardware of being cumbersome to design for and struggled to port Sega Dreamcast games to the system, within a year the PlayStation 2 played host to some of the most creative and exciting games of the decade, from sequels like Metal Gear Solid 2 and new titles like Devil May Cry.
The potency of the system endures today. Though Sony is stopping shipments of the PlayStation 2 in Japan, new games for the system will continue to be released by major publishers. Square-Enix will release the latest expansion for its popular MMO, Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Andoulin, in March 2013.
The system will also continue to ship around the world. The PlayStation 2 was only released in Brazil in 2009, a country where the console still enjoys brisk sales. The PlayStation 2 remains a dominant force in India as well. Over the July to September quarter of this year, the 12-year-old console contributed to more than 3.5 million home console sales for the company.
Up until this December, the PlayStation 2 was the best selling devoted video game hardware ever released but it was finally surpassed by the Nintendo DS. Nintendo’s handheld hit 153.69 million units sold, just beating out the PlayStation 2’s 153.68 million.