Sony PlayStation 2
Type Console Developer Sony
Release Date 2000-Mar-04 Region(s) Worldwide
Initial Price $299 USD Games Released 2,101+
DW FACTS
     by Dark Watcher
Rumors of the successor to the Sony PlayStation had been surfacing since 1997.  By 1999, Sony began announcing a new console called the PlayStation 2 (PS2).  This next generation system would use the immense storage capacity of the DVD, the raw processing power of a chip called the "Emotion Engine" and be able to play DVD Movies, audio CDs right out of the box.  Coupled with the fact that the device would be backwards compatible with the original PlayStation software, Sony definitely had a winning recipe for success.

Backed up by a lot of hype, the PlayStation 2 was released in Japan on March 4, 2000.  The console broke records by selling well over a million units in a matter of days.  Sony struggled to keep up with the demand and initially shipped units with glitched memory cards.  The Japanese PS2 used these memory cards with "Gate Way" technology, where it stored the drivers needed to run DVD movies.  Later on Sony again had to deal with another bug in initial PS2 units, one which would allowed users to override the region coding system and play DVD movies regardless of region.  When the PS2 was finally released in North America on October 26, Sony did away with the DVD playback issues by hard coding the drivers into the PS2 unit.  Europe saw a release a month later.

Although the initial launch of the PlayStation 2 was a complete success, the console itself had its early share of problems.  There are no doubts that the PS2 "Emotion Chip" was state of the art, but its design made things difficult for software developers who had grown spoiled by the simple development environment of the Sega Dreamcast.  Rather then suffer the fate of the Sega Saturn, Sony opened up developer assistance forums, documentation, phone assistance and websites to provide the technical assistance needed for developers to create premium titles.  However the initial batch of PS2 games where indeed a rushed effort.

As with most new consoles, it takes time for developers to truly take advantage of a console's capabilities.  Early developers complained about the lack of video ram and centered all programming to the main CPU instead of taking advantage of the two other co-processors of the "Emotion Chip".  Another drastic complaint was the jaggiest and flickering in most of the launch games.  One of the reasons behind this was the games lacked Full Screen Anti Aliasing.  The PlayStation 2 hardware did not seem capable of producing this effect which could be seen in Nintendo 64 and the  Dreamcast.  Sony would later reveal methods of producing FSAA through the software code.  One method that was unique to the PS2 and differs from traditional methods is a field bending technique that works well with televisions.

The PS2 also offered two modes that even improved the original PlayStation's large library of games.  One option took full advantage of the systems drive to speed up loading time in some games.  The other is a Texture Interpolation option that can clean up jagged edges and other problems with textures in some games making for much needed graphic improvement.  These modes were either not compatible or cause glitches in some games, but was truly a novel idea by Sony.  Various other ports such as USB allow for numerous device connectivity.  Sony truly meant to give gamers a multimedia experience.

Soon afterwards Sony would take a page from Sega's online gaming efforts and produce an adapter that would allow for 56K / broadband gaming.  Word of a hard drive, zip drives, voice chat devices and more bring the PlayStation 2 console closer to Sony's multimedia conception.  Even with the introduction of newer consoles by rival Nintendo and newcomer Microsoft, the Sony PlayStation 2 remained the most popular console even to the end of year 2004.  With so many consoles sold, developers saw it wise to cash in.  As a result the console has one of the largest software libraries available.  Add the backward compatibility with the original PlayStation library and you have another successful Sony system that is still going strong.


In November 2004, Sony released a reduced sized version of the PlayStation 2.  This new model (SCPH-7000 CB) is 75 percent smaller and sports a built in Network Adaptor, but lacked the expansion bay required for the external hard drive.  See our Specs & Manuals tab for more information on these variations.

FACT:  Just as was done for the PlayStation (Yaroze), Sony catered to the dreams of would be developers.  In April of 2002, Sony released a specialized kit which turned the PlayStation 2 console into a full-fledged computer.  The PlayStation 2 Linux kit (pictured above) came with a Linux distribution DVD that runs on the PS2 hardware, additional software, a 40GB hard drive, an Ethernet adapter, a USB mouse, a USB keyboard, a computer monitor cable and a wealth of documentation containing the same information that Sony provides its licensed game developers.  It could only be purchased from Sony's official PlayStation webpage and retailed at $199 USD.

 
MODELS
     Officially licensed releases
The Sony PlayStation 2 had many variations during its lifespan, typically designated as the 'fat' and 'slimline' models.  In addition to the obvious changes in the design of the chassis, the 'slimline' models do not incorporate the expansion bay (necessary for the optional external hard drive) but does include a built-in ethernet port.  Later models also had increased compatibility with original Sony PlayStation titles.  Many other technical changes were also incorporated during the evolution of the PlayStation 2, including a built in IR for DVD remote control.  Please see the 'Specs & Manuals' tab for more information.

The following are some pictures of the base models that have been released during its 10 year run.


Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-10000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-15000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-18000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-30000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-37000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-39000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-50000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-50000 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-70000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-75000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-79000
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-90000

Sony PSX DVR (DESR-5XXX \ DESR-7XXX)
Multimedia device with integrated PlayStation 2
Sony Bravia KDL22PX300
22" LCD television with a built-in PlayStation 2

 
CLONES
     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
 
FORMAT, PACKAGING & GENERAL INFO
     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Sony PlayStation 2 was distributed in the CD-ROM and DVD formats.  The system boasts one of the most impressive lineup of games for any console that has ever been released, with a massive 29 titles accompanying the North American launch.
Sample Game Play

Sony PlayStation 2 Launch Games - North America



 
SCREENSHOTS
     Captured in-game images
Ace Combat 5
Armored Core 3
Beyond Good and Evil
Clock Tower 3
Devil May Cry 3
Final Fantasy X
Gladius
God of War 2
Gran Turismo 4
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
GunGriffon Blaze
King of Fighters 2003
Kingdom Hearts
King's Field: The Ancient City
Klonoa 2
Knockout Kings 2001
Metal Gear Solid 2
Midnight Club 4
MLB 08: The Show
NASCAR 08
NBA Live 2004
NCAA Football 06
Neo Contra
NHL 2K9
Panzer Elite Action
Pinball Hall of Fame: Williams Collection
Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat
Raiden 3
Red Faction 2
Romance of the Three Kingdoms X
Sega Sports Tennis
Shadow Hearts: From the New World
Shadow of the Colossus
SSX 3
Star Trek: Shattered Universe
Sub Rebellion
Suikoden V
Thunderstrike: Operation Phoenix
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
Warship Gunner 2
Winning Eleven Soccer 2007
Some screenshots courtesy of GameSpot
 
EMULATION
     First and third party system emulators
PCSX2

This is an amazing emulator for Windows, Linux and Mac. It requires Direct X 8.0.
 
SPECS & MANUALS
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Emotion Engine (128-bit) 294.912 MHz Graphics Synthesizer (GPU @ 147.456 MHz), SPU1+SPU2 (Audio @ 8 MHz) 32 MG RDRAM \ 4 MB DRAM
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
256 x 224 up to 1280 x 1024 16.7 M colors 150M \ sec 48 channel, 44.1\48.0 kHz sampling rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
CD-ROM (24x) \ DVD-ROM (4x) 700 MB (CD) / 4.7 GB (DVD) /
8.5 GB (Dual Layer DVD)
2,010+ Sony PlayStation 1, CD-DA (audio CD), DVD-Video, DVD5, DVD9, DVD+RW, DVD-RW
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
4 MB ROM Memory Card D-Pad, dual Analog sticks, Eyetoy, Keyboard, Mouse, Dance Pad, Network Adapter, etc.
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Two (2) Ethernet port (slim models) USB 1.1 port (2), Memory Card slot (2), PCMCIA/DEV 9 port, IEEE 1394 Firewire port*, IR remote control**, RF, Composite, S-Video, Component
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Varied S/PDIF Digital Out * SCPH-10xxx-3xxxxx only
** SCPH-5000x or newer
Manuals
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-30001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 1.93 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-35001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 2.18 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-39001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 2.63 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-50001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 2.10 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-70001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 6.17 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-70011 Owners Manual (PDF) - 3.43 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-75001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 1.91 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-77001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 2.00 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-79001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 2.20 MB
Sony PlayStation 2 SCPH-90001 Owners Manual (PDF) - 1.26 MB

OTHER MEDIA
     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Sony PlayStation 2 Television Commercials

Sony PlayStation 2 Print Advertisements

 
DISCUSS
     Visitor insights and feedback
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