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Why was the PS2 so successful?

Of all the video game consoles brought into existence by creative minds, none to date have been as successful as the PlayStation 2.  In fact, when it comes to defining what constitutes a classic game box, the PS2 seems to be the first example to spring to mind for many people.    Naturally, the question is – why?  You might point toward its hardware, great library of titles or Sony’s incredible timing when trying to justify its popularity.  In truth however, it’s all of the above plus a little bit of fate and fortune mixed in for good measure.

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First off, there’s the PS2’s hardware, which made it possible for developers to really stretch out their artistic muscles, so to speak.  Sure, the original PlayStation definitely wasn’t to be scoffed at, but with the arrival of the PS2, it just seemed like console gaming had “finally arrived”.   Better graphics, sound and capacity for delivering more immersive experiences – this is what made Sony’s second generation gaming machine so special.  In fact, once they upped the ante in performance and visuals, a number of specific genres really began to start hitting their stride, as it were.  For example, first-person shooters and open world titles really seemed to bloom on the PS2.

Arguably, it was the PlayStation 2’s incredible (and massive) library which ultimately helped propel it to immortal status and stardom.  Games like Grand Theft Auto III and GTA: San Andreas not only boosted sales, they opened up new doors which didn’t even exist in most people’s minds prior to their discovery.  In terms of delivering larger more detailed worlds to explore, the story-telling aspect was also greatly enhanced.  Think of it as a kind of portal to a new set of dimensions or something, the point is – the PS2 provided the more imaginative and prolific game designers with a very powerful platform to work with.  Just compare the original Metal Gear Solid with MGS 2: Sons of Liberty or MGS 3: Snake Eater to gain an idea of what’s implied here. Other steller titles included TimeSplitters 2, Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec and SSX Tricky.

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Lastly, you have the seemingly random factors which emerged around the time of the PS2’s release which further emphasized its importance and fame.  Hot on the heels of the (also widely) successful PlayStation (1) console, the PS2 only needed to be a slight upgrade in most people’s minds to be crowned a “triumph”.  Given that it far exceeded any and all such expectations, it’s only natural that it would win enduring celebrity.  Gamers were hungry for an upgrade at that point and the PlayStation 2 quenched their thirst to great aplomb.  Moreover, economic factors weren’t dampening the average global citizen’s disposable income either, which further reinforced the possibility of additional sales.

In truth, one might say that Sony just sort of well, got “lucky” with the PS2.  A number of different factors converged to both enhance sales and visibility, making the console as attractive as it was desirable.  For instance, the fact that it doubled as a DVD player certain didn’t hurt profits.  Regardless, it’s still a pretty great console and definitely worth playing around with if you’re a dedicated gamer, even if you own a shiny new PS4.

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