The Playstation 2, or the PS2, is a video game console that is successor of the Playstation and predecessor of the Playstation 3. It was developed and designed by Sony. Playstation 2 was released in Japan, a year after the announcement of its development in March 1999.
Till date, Playstation 2 is the best-selling video game console. Sale of the Playstation 2 touched a whopping 120 million mark in 2007. Just after 5 years and 9 months of its launch, Playstation 2 sales reached 100 million units, making it the fastest selling video game console.
Initially, when the console was launched in 2000, impressive game titles weren`t made available with it. But in December 2001, a host of best-selling and critically acclaimed game titles were launched for Playstation 2, which helped Playstation 2 in maintaining a lead in the video game console market. In most of the cases, the makers of Playstation 2 made exclusivity deals with the publishers of the game titles to stay ahead in console market.
Playstation 2 has 3 designs: Original case design, slim case design and PSX.
Playstation 2 is backward compatible with Playstation when it comes to hardware compatibility. It can read CDs as well as DVDs. DVD video playback is another feature of Playstation 2. DVD movie playing feature was another attraction and a cost-justifying feature for a buyer to purchase Playstation 2. It also supports Playstation memory cards, meant for saving Playstation games only. Playstation 2 also supports the Playstation controllers. But the problem that one faces with these controllers is that they are not supportive of all the functions, like the analog buttons, of the Playstation 2. The memory cards, also, work only with Playstation 1 games. At the rear of the console, support is provided for internal Playstation 2 HDD (Hard Disc Drive).
An upgraded version of the Playstation DualShock controller is the Playstation 2`s DualShock 2 controller. Digital buttons of the original controller are replaced by analog face, shoulder and D-pad buttons. The D-pad, the right buttons, the back buttons (R1, R2, L1, L2), the analog joystick buttons (R3, L3s) and the middle buttons (Start, Select, Analog) are the various input buttons.
Similar to its predecessor, force feedback feature is provided with DualShock 2 controller. Force feedback is more commonly known as the `vibration` function. Consider a game wherein the player moves in a car on a road. Now, this force feedback feature gives a `feel` of how an actual road would have given, making the game as close to reality as possible.
Playstation 2 was introduced with one of the most advanced features. These features were not available with other contemporary gaming consoles, which helped Playstation 2 in gaining more popularity. DVD playback feature, USB support and IEEE 1394 expansion ports were some of these features.
Software support was another advantage that worked in the favor of Playstation 2. Old systems could be upgraded to Playstation 2 without changing the old softwares. This enabled the new users to access older games till a new and larger library was developed for Playstation 2. Speeding up disc read time, adding texture smoothing to enhance graphics, or a combination of both, were the added features provided with Playstation 2 to enhance Playstation games. At times, problems like failure in loading were faced with faster disc reading. But texture smoothing proved out to be an effective feature at all times.
Playstation games can also be played online with multiple players. A network adapter is required for this. This is a built-in component in the slimline model, but with other models the consumer has to purchase it. These special features make playstation 2 a great hit among the kids and the grown ups alike.