There's no denying it. Sony's PlayStation 2 was the most successful console of all time. On March 3rd, 2000 the PS2 was released in Japan, and in just 48 hours nearly 1 million PS2s were sold to giddy consumers, making it 10 times more successful than its predecessor. As of June 2005 more than 90 million PS2s had shipped worldwide and by November the PS2 was the fastest game console to reach 100 million units shipped, accomplishing the feat within 5 years and 9 months from its launch (the PS1 taking over 9 years to reach the same benchmark). Last year the PS2 had ranked up 120 million units in sales, which is no mean feat. And it's still selling strong. Last year the slim line model sold more than 100,000 units every month, and according to vgchartz.com the PS2 has sold an approximate average of 996,730 units a month since August. So what is Sony doing to exploit this steady demand? Not much, it would seem, when you consider the almost complete absence of the PlayStation 2 at GDC, E3, the German Games Convention and TGS.
It's strange when you think about it, because 2007 - the seventh year for the system –went to show that you can't keep a good system down. Sure, most of the press was focused on the PS3, but the PS2 sold consistently for months. Perhaps the longevity can be attributed to the high selling price of the PS3, something that is somewhat prohibitive to gamers that don't have the funds for the system or a high definition television. Or maybe it was because that in 2007 the PS2 enjoyed another solid year of games from beginning to end.
Sony have always succeeded in maintaining momentum with a constant stream of enjoyable, rock-solid, and unfussy entertainment, with blockbuster games continually being released. Sports franchises such as Winning Eleven: Pro Evo Soccer, MLB '07: The Show and Rugby 08 shone on the system, while older series made a return to the PS2, including Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror and Burnout Dominator. It was also an incredible year for RPGs, with Odin Sphere, Persona 3 and Rogue Galaxy anchoring a deep list of enjoyable games. Furthermore, two Guitar Hero titles were released: Rocks the 80s and Legends of Rock, while Rock Band helped bring rock n' roll into many a gamer's home. Add to this GrimGrimoire, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core, Okami, God Hand, and, of course, the gripping God of War 2 and it's obvious that the PS2 still has the grunt to establish an enticing level of play.
Conversely, 2007 also saw the PS2's servers for MGS3: Subsistence shut down due to lack of interest (the developer's wishing to focus their attention on the PSP's MGS: Portable Ops) and THQ's decision to kill its PS2 version of Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed. The effect Manhunt 2 has had, not only on the industry itself, but also on the PS2 could serve as a further warning for developers thinking about putting their games on the console.
It's possible that the slew of fantastic games the PS2 saw last year were a swan song, a beautiful goodbye to the machine that gave us so many good times for the past many years. Although the PS2 has hardly outstayed its welcome (indeed, gamers still call for top-quality titles on it) it only makes good business sense for Sony to turn their full attention to the PS3, and utilise the PS2 only for those titles that bring in the most profit. Will Sony do the obvious and focus on nothing but the more lucrative franchises like Buzz! and SingStar? Well, as easy as it would be to say that this is the case, it's not entirely true.
As far as Buzz! is concerned, the only release so far this year has been Buzz! The School's Quiz in the UK. Future plans include Buzz! Junior: Dino Den, Buzz! Hollywood and Buzz! The Pop Quiz, but beyond this things get a little hazy. Indeed, the major continuations of the franchise are on the PSP and PS3, with little mention of another PS2 title.