Sony's PlayStation 2 launched in Japan nine years ago today, ultimately going on to sell over 140 million consoles and, now, entering its tenth year on the market.
Japan's launch of the PlayStation 2 brought with it a half-dozen generation changing games, even if most were largely forgettable. The launch line up on March 4, 2000 consisted of Street Fighter EX3, Kessen, Ridge Racer V, Eternal Ring, DrumMania and Stepping Selection.
Even with a relatively meager list of software, Japanese gamers snapped up close to a million units of the console on its first day of availability.
It would be some time before the PS2 would receive its defining and bestselling software, however. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, which has sold approximately 15 million copies, wouldn't arrive for over a year after the console's launch. Metal Gear Solid 2 and Grand Theft Auto III also arrived in 2001, cementing the console's lineup of blockbuster titles.
After the PlayStation 2's launch in North America later that year, the console would go on to become the fastest selling console of all time, crossing the 100 million mark in under six years.
The PlayStation 2 ultimately outsold the original PlayStation by more than 30 million units. Its shelf life will likely be longer than the original PlayStation's as well, which was manufactured by Sony until March of 2006. Sony is still selling a respectable, if not spectacular number of PS2s worldwide. If it ever decides to drop the price to $99 or below, we can see that continuing (or improving) over the years to come.
I remember picking up my PlayStation 2 alongside the arrival of Onimusha, a system that ultimately died of Disc Read Errors around the time of the arrival of Contra: Shattered Soldier. Despite that bad hardware experience, there are so many more positively memorable games, like ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, Gradius V, Gitaroo Man, Silent Hill 2 and Katamari Damacy that make the system one of my favourites.