Released in 2000, Sony’s PlayStation 2 console became so popular that it was only rivaled in sales by some types of portable consoles from Nintendo DS. Even years after the release of PlayStation 3, the PlayStation 2 continued to enjoy sales from stores around the world until just lately.
According to a Japanese gaming website Famitsu, Sony has finally delivered the last shipment of brand new “PS2” for the Japanese market. Other regions around the world will still be getting some shipment until the near term, but the legend that the PlayStation 2 has created has already been stopped.
The Japanese PlayStation 2 market has saw more game titles in Japanese language in contrast to their English counterparts. The PlayStation 2 is known for many amazing role-playing games like the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, a game designed very closely around the maximum capabilities of the PS2 that even the Windows version of the game is virtually a copy of almost entirely the same controller-based interface and graphics.
New games for PS2 are still being made though like Final Fantasy XI. FF XI is getting a retail-boxed, full-fledged expansion this coming March, but it is only supporting the PS2 in Japan, where many die-hard fans continue to use the original “fat” PS2 system. This version has a hard drive expansion slot. Final Fantasy XI will also be supporting PC and Xbox 360 versions sold internationally.
The current gaming console from Sony, the PlayStation 3, made famous by the silence Sony officials made during a Sony event where the console’s price was announced to be “599 US dollars”, was created to be backwards-compatible with many of the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 1 games. Backwards-compatibility on PlayStation 3 was achieved by Sony by incorporating the actual PS2 “Emotion Engine” and “Graphics Synthesizer” chips on the motherboard of every PS3, essentially making the PS3 a two game consoles in one (and also making the launch price higher).
After a redesign, Sony was able to lower the cost of the new PS3 some, but it also removed the essential Emotion Engine chip, which now caused to sometimes fail to play certain games or to cause some bugs during the game. The current stocks of PS3s no longer come with both chips, making them unable to play PS2 game discs although they still can play PS1 games without problems. Even upgrades can no longer make the new PS3s play PS2 games game discs at all.
Sony has also created a few HD remakes of particular PS2 games, publishing them to work for the PS3 under the “PlayStation 2 Classics” section. A few dozens of such games are available for download in the PlayStation Network store.
Downloading re-released games means that users will have to buy the game again (if it is available in the PS Network), just like how PlayStation Portable gamers do for their Vita console. And buying the games again for the PlayStation 3 does not mean such games can be played indefinitely on upcoming Sony consoles. It is rumored that the next PlayStation console will not be playing some games designed for PS3s.