The PlayStation 2 was first released in the year 2000. It was presumed dead in 2006, with the advent of the PlayStation 3. Yet here we are, eleven years later, and the thing just will not stop selling.
Sony released its quarterly financial results overnight, and amidst all the money talk one figure stood out: hardware sales for the PlayStation 2. You see, over the last few years, they've barely changed. In fact, in two of the past three quarters, sales of the console have been as strong as they were a year ago, so strong that it matched and even sometimes outsold the PlayStation Portable.
While the current fiscal year has one more quarter left to run, Sony forecasts it will have sold 6 million PS2s by the end of it. Six million! That's only two million fewer than it expects to sell of the PSP, and not that far off the 15 million PS3s the company thinks it will sell.
To still be manufactured eleven years after it was first released is an achievement in itself. For new games to be released for the system eleven years after it was first released is just as big an achievement. But to sell six million consoles in a year so long after it was "replaced", and nearly four years after its last high profile game (God of War II) was released is astonishing.
To put that astonishment into cold, hard numbers, between October and December 2010, the PlayStation 2 sold 2.1 million units worldwide. That amount, while seemingly minor, was enough to push the console past a very significant milestone: 150 million consoles sold.
Yes, as of February 2011, Sony's official tally for PS2 consoles sold worldwide stands at 151.12 million, making it the first console in history to achieve such a feat. That's more than the NES, more than the SNES, more than the PlayStation, more than the DS and a lot more than the Wii.
Pragmatists will point to its $99 price and continued popularity in developing markets as the reason for this prolonged success, but when you can boast a software library that includes Ico, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, Okami, Final Fantasy XII, Gran Turismo 3, Metal Gear Solid 2, Devil May Cry and Ratchet & Clank, well, 150 million sold is exactly what it deserves.