Please note that many of our FAQs were originally published between 2001-2007. Minor details such as prices, products and details will be from the time the post was originally published. Some of the FAQs have been updated.
Can I play US or Japanese games on my PS2?
No not unless you have a US or Japanese machine. PS2 games have territorial lockout to prevent games in one region of the world (PAL, NTSC) being played in another. Sony developers do this to control availability (and price) and to ensure localised versions of games are played (eg language). See “Chipping” below which can illegally override the regional protection. For DVDs – See DVDs.
Can I play UK games on an Australian PS2?
UK PlayStation and PlayStation games will work on an Australia PS2 and vice versa – both are “PAL” countries. However, to ensure you have complete DVD movie compatibility you will need to purchase a PlayStation 2 from the country you will be purchasing/hiring DVD movies from. UK PlayStation 2’s will only play DVD’s purchased here in the UK (Region 2). If you purchase a DVD movie in Australia, it will only work on a PlayStation 2 from Australia (Region 4).Although DVD Region X can overcome this. See DVDs.
Can I have the PS2 chipped to play Import Games?
Some web sites sell chips or Mods for the PS2 but what impact they have on your console…? Mods will certainly invalid your Sony Warranty, and it is illegal. A Chip is a device which circumvents copyright protection. The Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act deals with such devices as a civil offence. Checkout PS2 Mods
Where can I get Import Games, Consoles and Videogaming Gear?
See the PS2Home Import Page now officially sponsored by Like-Sang.Com one of the most trusted places online for import games, gaming gear and hot videogame stuff. Lik-Sang ships the Latest Import Games and Systems (including Sony PSP and Nintendo DS), plus top-notch videogame accessories, Game Music, and other Cool Stuff. Save $5 Off $40 at Lik-Sang by entering the PS2Home discount code at checkout: LS-693982E00597429E
Will a Japanese or US PS2 Work in the UK?
No. You can’t just buy an electrical appliance off the shelf from Japan or the US and expect it to work in the UK. There are different power supplies and different television standards. However, these barriers can be overcome. Doing so is potentially a minefield but less traumatic provided you follow good advice:
What Do I need to Make an Import PS2 Work?
Basically you will need a Step Down Converter and a TV that will display an RGB or in some cases an NTSC signal.
What is a Step Down Converter?
In the UK, mains electricity supply runs at 240 volts. In the US and Japan it runs at 110 volts. This extra voltage means that if you plug an import console straight into the mains, you will burn out the power supply or even the console itself. To prevent this, you plug a Step Down Converter into the mains and then your imported console plugs into the converter. The converter then “steps down” the voltage from 240 volts to 110 volts.
Step Down Converters come in different wattage – make sure yours has enough watts to power your PS2. Generally PS2 on its own will require at least 100 Watts. GameCube and XBox up to 150 Watts. If you intend to plug more than one appliance into the Step Down Converter ensure you cover the combined wattage.
US and Japanese Consoles have two pin plugs whereas UK have three pin. Normally the Step Down should also convert the three pins to two. If it doesn’t, you will also need a three to two pin adapter plug. These can be bought cheaply from most electronic shops.
Note: You should not plug in a UK power supply as the PS2, PSone, X Box all have internal power supplies with a simple power lead. Using a UK lead will send 240 volts through the internal power supply most likely crippling the console.
Where Do I Get a Step Down or Step Down Converter?
One of the best Import gear sources is Lik Sang. Expect to pay more for over 100 watts. 220V Stepdown Converter . If you want a Converter that can Step Up and Step Down that connects your Japanese/US console to Euro/Australian 220V sockets or your Euro/ Australian console to US/Japanese 110V sockets then you need the switchable 220V 110V Step Converter (150W).
How do I Display through the TV?
The best solution is through RGB. This is a universal standard which all territories use, therefore bypassing any differences in television standards between them.
RGB is a standard for sending visual information – it stands for Red, Green and Blue – and gives the best quality picture for an interlaced screen. Provided the console can output RGB and your TV can support it, you will see a full colour full screen display from your NTSC console.
However, not all consoles support RGB and for those that do, not all games will support RGB. To add to the pain RGB is supported in the UK through a socket called a SCART which is a European standard and as a result consoles released in the US and Japan do not come with Scart leads. And finally, RGB leads can be expensive.
Most modern UK TVs have RGB and all new models will. If your TV has a scart socket it is almost bound to have RGB, but always check to make sure. Note that if your TV has more than one scart, it is likely that not all will support RGB, so if one doesn’t try another socket.
TV System Issues – PAL & NTSC. The UK uses a television system called PAL, while the US and Japan use a system called NTSC. The two systems are not compatible; an NTSC console will not work on a TV that only supports pure PAL. However, in recent years manufacturers have begun including NTSC in their TVs.
But there are two versions of NTSC, one is NTSC 3.58 and the other NTSC 4.43. It is NTSC 3.58 that is needed to run imported consoles. Unfortunately, a lot of TVs that are NTSC compatible only support NTSC 4.43.
So if you have a TV that supports NTSC 3.58 you can play an import console without RGB. All you need to do is decide how best to connect it. But if you get a black and white picture then your TV doesn’t support NTSC 3.58 ! Still all is not lost provided your TV has a 60 Hz option.
60 Hz means the screen will update 60 times a second. NTSC runs at 60 Hz whereas PAL runs at 50 Hz. If your TV only runs at 50 Hz, then it’s time to replace it, or forget the about imported consoles. If you see a picture that “rolls” up and down the screen, your TV is 50 Hz only. You can check by looking in the manual or contacting the manufacturer.
NB. If your TV supports NTSC 4.43, then it will support 60 Hz. Likewise, if you got a black and white picture before, it also supports 60 Hz. Most TVs made in the last five years will support 60 Hz, but it pays to make sure.
So if your TV supports 60Hz, to display a picture you will need a type of converter. You can either use an NTSC to RGB converter or an NTSC to PAL-60 converter. This will give you a full colour picture, but at a price. The conversion process takes some of the quality off the picture, so that it can look blurry and the colours washed out. Some people can’t tell the difference. Some converters are better than others. Checkout NTSC to PAL Converter
What about Monitors?
Things get slightly easier if you want to connect the PS2 to a Monitor (CRT or LCD) There are no conflicting standards but you will need a VGA Box or Multi Purpose XGA Box which you can purchase for about £30.
What is Component?
Component is best described as the US and Japanese equivalent of RGB Scart. In fact, it is different to RGB, but the picture quality is virtually identical. The PS2 can be connected via component. Component leads for these consoles are not sold in Europe and will have to be imported.
Some UK TVs have Component, usually the more expensive Toshibas. If your TV does support component, you can simply plug an import PS2 straight into the TV.
Any other PS2 questions?
Check out the these contacts for all your PS2 questions: