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The Sun Finally Sets On PlayStation 2



April 2016 marked the end of an Era in video gaming. The last online servers that served PlayStation 2 gamers were shutdown on March 31st, 2016. PS3 replaced PS2 November 2006, but still PlayStation 2 held strong. The console ceased manufacture in 2013, but it did not end, even then.  This time, though, it really is the end for PlayStation 2.

PlayStation 2 took its’ first breath of light on March 4 2000, and about 6 months later it arrived in North America, and a month later Europe.  March 2000 thru November 2000 was an exciting time for PlayStation gamers, PS2 had arrived and brought a new level of graphical quality to home consoles that was truly a leap forwards from PlayStation.


PlayStation 2's life effectively ended at the start of this month when two events took place. First, Square Enix turned off the PS2 and Xbox 360 game servers for Final Fantasy XI on March 31st, also on that day, Sony ended service for the PS2 Broadband Navigator. These were the last two online servers catering to PlayStation 2, and with their closing, PS2 passes into the offline world of gaming beyond the Internet. Pragmatically speaking, PS2 officially ended.  


PlayStation 2 created a legacy which survives today. The PS2 console is a benchmark by which other consoles are judged, still. But as it ceased manufacture in 2013, memories are all that is left for many gamers.


PlayStation 2 all services ended March 31st, 2016. PlayStation 2 will live on, it will live on the PS4 with PS2 classics, in PS2 emulators on PCs, on older PS3s that somehow miraculously still function and in the remaining PS2s still living on in attics and basements; but most of all in the hearts of gamers.
So, let's all pause this month, to remember the greatest video game console of all time.


Retrospective


Looking back, it's hard to believe that PS2 sold more than 155 million consoles and had a game library of well over 2500 games. Classics such as Grant Theft Auto 3/Vice City and San Andreas; Gran Turismo 3 & 4; Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts, God of War, Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Dexter, Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, Resident Evil, Call of Duty, Tekken, Soul Calibur, Sly Cooper and many other classic names...even Xenosaga makes the list of million selling games on PS2. With the massive variety of games, and huge audience, PlayStation 2 represents something of a gold age for gaming.

Many of the classic games that exploded onto the PS2 have continued life on PS3, and even the PS4 today. Some being re-mastered, early PS3s could just play the original discs like PS2 could play PS1 games and now software emulation of some PS2 originals on PS4. Coming forward today and we still hear of the same franchises. Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, The Lego movie games, Gran Turismo 7(rumor has it that this game *will* launch this side of the apocalypse), Final Fantasy, Star Wars Battlefront, Need for Speed, Metal Gear, and of course next week sees Ratchet an Clank re-imagined for the PlayStation 4. 
 

It's hard to really come up with words that can encompass the legacy of the PlayStation 2 and it's golden era of gaming. It's true to say that we are still feeling it's influence today. Sony is even brining certain PS2 classics to PS4 with emulated backwards compatibility including trophy support.

Some would say that we can trace this 'golden era' to the original PlayStation, others would point to Nintendo. I wouldn't disagree that there is a case to be made for both, and even the ill-fated DreamCast for that matter. But the PlayStation 2 represents something different from those that went before it, and those that have come after it. The next-best selling home consoles are PlayStation 1 and Nintendo Wii, both of which trail PS2 by at least 50 million units. 


PS3 and Xbox 360 both made a respectable showing at approximately 84 million sold. It's thought that PS3 probably edged past the 360 during 2013, but Sony stopped reporting PS3 sales separately, and Microsoft stopped selling 360s all together, while PS3 is still being manufactured and sold. By the way, PS4 is about half way to passing PS3 in sales of units. Xbox One has yet to outsell the original Xbox...


PlayStation 2 was a driving force behind the development of the video game industry of today. It's influence is still felt, and perhaps it always will be. Perhaps that is the way it should be.
Of course, the PlayStation 4's history is still being written. But it has about 120 million units to sell to catch it's ancestor.


Geeky bits
I'm gonna geek out a bit here... The PlayStation 2 used the Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer to bring 3D graphics to our scrrens in resolutions up to (and including) 1080i. The system had unheard of specifications for a home game console. 


The CPU (Emotion Engine) featured multiple execution units (cores), a 64-bit MIPS CPU core, paired up with a 32-bit floating point unit and two custom vector processing units. For those counting, that's effectively 4 cores. 


The GPU (Graphics Synthesizer) with a 2560-bit (extremely wide) memory bus clipping along at 147.5 MHz... That is roughly equivalent to a 256-bit data bus on a modern GPU running at 1.475GHz - remember this was in March 2000. The pixel rates and texel rates for the PlayStation 2 are similarly impressive. The designers of the GS hit a home run, this console could push 1080i resolution in March 2000, though comparatively few games went that far during the PS2's life.


Of course PS2 was also a trojan horse bringing DVD to homes. This same tactic was later used with PS3 to bring BluRay to our homes. Including DVD in the PS2 was not as controversial as the inclusion of BluRay in the PS3 was, and DVD became a defacto standard for home video displacing the mighty VHS.
 

PS2 featured one more trick, there was an I/O processor on board for handling I/O tasks, it also happened to be the original PlayStation CPU and automatically under-clocked itself for PS1 backwards compatibility. PlayStation 2 was in effect two consoles in one with a DVD player thrown in.
So, a PS2 slim could play virtually every PlayStation game, every PS2 game, all DVDs, all CDs, output to SDTV and HDTV in resolutions up to 1080i, featured a GPU that was so advanced that it's still difficult to emulate today, 16 years later, and had a system design that foreshadowed the PS3.


It's funny if you look at the PS2, PS3 and PS4 launch systems side by side. Other than the curves of the PS3's top cover, all 3 systems are rectangular black boxes with a front loading optical drive. The dual Shock 2, 3 and 4 are all very similar in design. It's truly a case of the more things change, the more they remain the same.


Thank you Sony, for the PlayStation 2. You hit it out of the park with that system. Please remember what you did, and keep doing it.
 

 

Related Game(s): PlayStation 2

Tags: PlayStation, Ps2, PS3, retrospective, legacy

4/12/2016 2:21:57 AM Gordon Turner

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New Comment System


Legacy Comment System (26 posts)


Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 10:28:57 AM
Reply

Gordon, something was wonky in the link, which is why clicking on it on the main page didn't work. Fixed it now, though.

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TheHighlander
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 11:34:55 AM

Thanks Ben. I thought I had checked it a couple of times, but I may have missed something on the link, I pushed it to the site from my tablet which sometimes forgets that it is a tablet, and not a phone and switches sites to their mobile versions.

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smileys_007
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 2:50:18 PM

@TheHighlander

I also sent you an email saying that the link on your article is unclickable. I was about to fix it myself, but I just thought that you should be the one to fix it since it's your article. Well, good thing Ben fixed it for you. ^_^

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TheHighlander
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 3:07:41 PM

TY for the heads up. I'll have to triple check in future to ensure everything is clickable.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 10:37:52 AM
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And for the system it hurt the most, the Dreamcast, born 9/9/99 still lives on with a staunch fanbase and half a dozen games coming :)

Xenocider: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Ehg9kLI-PaQ/Vu-xTgLGOEI/AAAAAAAAJv4/y0IXsGuObNA-Cjs8yrWaDs6_abM0lSREw/s1600/image1.JPG

Elysian Shadows: http://www.seganerds.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/elysian-shadows-dreamcast-slider-625x330.jpg

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/12/2016 11:13:36 AM

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TheHighlander
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 11:36:49 AM

That's why I wanted to make sure that DreamCast got a mention. It was an influential system and had an early form of online capability as well. As much as I wanted to give respect to PlayStation 2, I included DreamCast, because it too should be remembered as one of the fore-runners of modern gaming.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 4:28:35 PM

Props!

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shaytoon
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 10:54:00 AM
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Ren & Stimpy: "Memmmmmmoriiessssssssssss"

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HANZ64
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 1:35:31 PM
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Playstation will always be a part of me.

It has provided me with so many invaluable experiences of shared moments and fond memories...

Gaming has always been a massive part of my life, but Playstation in particular has had a huge influence in my upbringing, it practically was my childhood; I grew up with it.

The PS1 was 'my' first ever console. My uncle was a huge gamer so I wasn't left out on the previous generations, and I am still very fond of many classics especially from the snes/nes and sega genesis era.

But Playstation for me was where it was at. I still remember beating all the crash bandicoot games, and the long quests of final fantasy games that me and my cousins went through, and all the competitions we had with street fighter, and the first time I experienced a metal gear game... Lol I still remember how I was terrified of the resident evil games my uncle used to play, I couldn't bare to watch and I used to hide behind the door (don't lie, you know that Nemesis character was scary as hell, and I was really young then ok... )

But then the PS2 came along, and my eyes glowed the first time I saw next gen graphics. It was the next big thing, and I couldn't have it...

You see, my parents weren't too fond of gaming. They are your typical parents who think that gaming is a 'waste of time'. So it took some time before I got round to owning one.

So in the mean time, I got to experience the PS2 only when I had a chance to meet up with friends or family who had one. And what can I say? It was simply amazing. The PS2 offered everything the previous generation had, but took it to a whole new level. All my favourite games made a come back, and many new favourites appeared. It truly was the 'golden era' of gaming (at least for me personally).

And I think most here will agree, these aren't just 'silly little games', but something much more...

Yes, there are games that can provide mindless fun, but there are plenty of games that hold very deep stories, themes, philosophical implications, archetypes, unique role models... etc.

In this way, I believe games have had a huge impact in shaping me for who I am today. (as well as film, music, media, and as I grew older, books.)

Also, something recently that I've noticed. When gaming, we get into that 'flow state' very easily. For anyone who isn't aware of the significance of that state, I strongly urge you to look it up. It'll be an amazing thing if every aspect of life can be experienced in this state. I believe it's one of the reasons why we love gaming so much.

Beyond that, most of my closest friends throughout my life, always shared some sort of common interest. Those who are are still with me to this day, have something all in common: we were all gamers.

It also helped us stay out of trouble, especially in my teen years. Unfortunately, I lived in areas where gang violence and stupid territorial battles were a thing. Some of my peers had spent their fair time in jail because of it. Besides school, without gaming taking up a good portion my free time, I could defo see myself taking part.

Gaming was one of the core outlets in which we all used to meet up with each other; friends and family. The PS1/PS2/PS3 eras were particularly a high point for this. It was a magical time when everyone got together through this unique medium, and all kinds of moments and laughs were shared... It was beautiful... and I seriously miss those days...

Even friends that lived afar, we still got together to play online with mics or messaging, and we would have many things to share the next time we would meet.

Now that we're all older, we're all 'busy' doing our own things, and we simply don't meet up as often as we used to. Gaming is slowly becoming a thing of the past and it's just not the same for me as it used to be. Even my uncle who was an avid gamer has taken a back seat, being busy with family life and all...

I still appreciate whatever solidarity experience there is available, but that 'community' like aspect to gaming that I had experienced has long since disappeared.

Though fortunately, that 'online community' still seems to be there. I'm just not taking part as much these days...

This site was defo part of that 'online community' as well as a few others. I pretty much grew up reading this site also. I still remember when there wasn't a comments section at all, but I used to repeatedly visited this site regardless due to the articles, and to this day, it is my no.1 site for gaming related news/articles. The way things are written on this site just feel a lot more personal, and I can really tell that the authors are true fans of gaming, that also love writing about this hobby - and it's a pleasure to read.

Also, many of the folks who comment here on this site have been here for a very long time (I can tell, so have I, I was just lurking behind the shadows lol), it's people like you that remind me of the 'good old days' when games brought people closer together. (not that they still don't but... you know my story.)

This site is like a mini community itself, and I have yet to find another site like it that has the same kind of rich community that isn't filled with trolls, bots and annoying bunch of kids lol.

So to wrap up my ravings, I just want to say: thank you Playstation for all the great games, and thank you Psxextreme (or shall I say Ben, Arnold and all the other contributors) for all the great articles throughout the years, as well as a big thanks to all the folks who comment. Thank you all for sharing.

It's been a blast.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 3:58:34 PM

Awesome read, thanks!

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Vitron
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 8:16:42 PM

Your profile pic says it all.

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Dukemz_UK
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 @ 1:29:21 PM

Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😊

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AcHiLLiA
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 1:51:29 PM
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Respect!

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TheHighlander
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 2:45:31 PM
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Hanz64 that was an awesome post. I'm inspired to tell my own PlayStation 2 story.

My personal PlayStation story began in the UK when I got my first PlayStation. It was awesome, but I was split between it and PC gaming because of Doom, Civilization and Colonization and a mild flirtation with Sim City on PC too.

But in 2001, I'd relocated to the USA to be with my wife, and bless her, she bought me a PlayStation 2 as an anniversary gift. I still have that original console, it still works, with a little manual alignment of the laser every now and again. Though it is retired now.

Fantasia felt next generation at the time compared to what went before. Then we started to get games like Madden NFL, Gran Turismo 3 & 4, Ratchet and Clank (1, 2 3 and 4), Soul Calibur 3 and of course, Xenosaga (1, 2 and 3). What's funny is that most of the PlayStation games I played I played on PS2 as well, not on the original PlayStation. The Crash games, Spyro, FFVII and FFVIII, and many others.

PlayStation 2 was so good that my wife started to play as well. We had to take turns on the thing. Xenosaga was a huge game for both of us, all 3 parts. the 1st and 3rd games moved us to tears at times, especially the finale and end in Episode 3. But PlayStation 2 and games like Xenosaga had left their mark on us.

When PS3 arrived I got a 60 GB launch system, and thanks to a tax rebate, about 3 months later, so did my Wife. The ability to play PS2 games on it was crucial early on because PS3 games were a long time coming at first. So we enjoyed PS2 in HD, and thought it was fabulous - and it was.

Then PS3 games started to arrive, and Burnout Paradise hooked us hard. After that White Knight Chronicles came along and well, now we own multiple PS4s and play FFXIV together. PlayStation 2 is responsible for that.

The thing is, we continued to play, and replay games like Gran Turismo 3 & 4, Xenosaga Episodes 1, 2 and 3, and Soul Calibur 3 long into the PS3 generation. I think that's because those games were fun, they were games to play. That might be a major characteristic of the PlayStation 2 generation of consoles and games. Games were about enjoyment, play and fun.

Whatever the reasons, PlayStation 2 and it's games changed me, and my wife. It brought us closer together by giving us a hobby to share, and games like Xenosaga cemented that. Now we are both still avid gamers as is our son. I can trace my liking for Anime back the the PS2. My gaming preferences were shaped by PS2. Even my preference for HD video and gaming started with PS2 thanks to 480p and 1080i output, specifically movies in 480p widescreen and games like Gran Turismo in 1080i.

I have a PS2 slim, and that original phat PS2 still. I also have a phat PS3 60GB launch system awaiting a complete overhaul with enhanced thermal compund and probably a replacement BluRay drive, PSU, Fan and GPU (or just re-balling). I want that launch system to last as long as it can. In my view the original launch PS3 was the best physical piece of Hardware Sony put out since Trinitron TVs. A single console that could play 3 generations of game using the original game discs. Of course, that's possible because of the inclusion of the PS2 chipset on the motherboard. Once again, PlayStation 2 makes something more special.

It has indeed been a blast.

Funniest thing that happened with PS2? When PS3 launched. Madden NFL was horrible on it. for 3 straight years I tried Madden on PS3, and invariably went back to the PS2 version. On one occasion (the first PS3 Madden) I took the game back after 24 hours and swapped it for the PS2 version. It was a far, far better game. Can you imagine a PS2 game flogging the living death out of a PS3 game? It happened.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 4:05:18 PM
Reply

I still can't decide if I want to call the PS2 my favorite console of all time. It's between that and the first PlayStation, and maybe the SNES.

PS2 might get the nod, though, because it really forced me out of my gaming shell, so-to-speak. I'd been all about RPGs, almost exclusively, prior to the PS2 (even though I did play some sports games and the Twisted Metals, Jet Motos, etc. on PS1). But it was games like GTA3, Onimusha, Devil May Cry, and MGS3 - not MGS2, I got into the series later - that opened my eyes to a much larger world of interactive entertainment.

On top of which, one could argue that the RPGs were just as good as they were on PS1, if not better. No, I don't think the Final Fantasies were quite as good as VII, VIII and IX but let's not forget about Legaia, Shadow Hearts, Star Ocean, Xenosaga, and a flurry of other great RPG IPs. The only reason I don't think it's QUITE on par with PS1 is because we saw the decline of the Wild ARMs and Suikoden franchises. Suikoden V was great but IV was questionable, and Wild ARMs went downhill fast after WA3.

It was also the first console to get me into FPSs. I never had a gaming PC that could handle the genre appropriately and like I said, I preferred RPGs at that time, anyway. Even though PS2 still couldn't compete with high-end PCs in this category, I remember playing TimeSplitters and Unreal Tournament at the PS2 launch and LOVING them. Then came stuff like Medal of Honor: Frontline and Red Faction, two of my favorite FPSs of all time, even to this day.

Oh, and PS2 being a DVD player was huge, too. That was the biggest step any game console ever made toward being a true home entertainment console, and it just completed one of the best gaming packages ever. :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 4:29:13 PM
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Playstation became my home for Final Fantasy. lol.

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wackazoa
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 4:43:13 PM

WAS the reason for Playstation for me as it was console exclusive during this time wasnt it?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 7:54:29 PM

yeah PS1 and PS2 and PSP aside from some worthless shootoffs.

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wackazoa
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 4:41:15 PM
Reply

Good article. A bit of a nitpick though.

"By the way, PS4 is about half way to passing PS3 in sales of units. Xbox One has yet to outsell the original Xbox..."

Without the numbers posted, I dont know the numbers off the top of my head, this comes off as a bit one sided. You said in the article that PS1 is 50 million behind the PS2. So even the PS4 hasnt outsold the original Playstation.

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TheHighlander
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 5:09:32 PM

The last numbers I saw had PS4 at 36+ million and Xbox One at about 19 million. The trouble is that both Sony and MS have made it more difficult to obtain exact numbers of sales. So you have to use other sources.

Irrespective of the precise numbers, the general picture is that SP4 has approximately double the sales of Xbox One.

I understand your point though, and that's a fair nit to pick; and to be fair I believe that I pointed out that PS4 still has about 120 million units to catch PS2, and is not quite half way to catching the PS3.

It's just that due to the relatively short time in the market and more restricted markets, the original Xbox sold poorly. Xbox One though followed up on the 360 which was extremely strong in NA, and more than held it's own in Europe. By comparison against the 360, the Xbox One is having a very hard time in the market, and comparing it's sales against those of the original Xbox is an easy way to convey the meager sales numbers it has achieved.

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TheHighlander
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 5:32:30 PM

Oops, a correction, I mis-spoke.

Sony reports specific product sales for PS4, but no longer separates out PS3. The specific report from a publisher was from EA Games where they indicated that at the end of the calendar year 2015, the total next gen consoles were about 55 million - which they point out is 50% more than the prior console cycle at the same time).

Sony does report numbers and as of the end of Jan 2016 they'd sold 36 million (35.9 to be exact). Combining that with the 55 millon number from EA and you get 36 million PS4s and 19 million Xbox One.

According to VGCharts as of Jan 2016 it was PS4 36.9 million, Xbox One 19.8 million and WiiU 12.7 million.

As of today, VG Charts says PS4 is at 39.8 million, Xbox one is at 20.7 million and WiiU at 12.9 million. PS4 sold 3 million or there about units globally in Feb/March, and Xbox One managed about 900,000. PS4 is outselling Xbox One by a ratio of 3:1.

Normally I would not use VG Charts, but since MS no longer discloses numbers, and Sony does, their PS4 number is probably reliable, and the Xbox One number is a best guess based on market data. In other words, this is about as good as we can get.

Last edited by TheHighlander on 4/12/2016 5:32:50 PM

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wackazoa
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 10:38:44 PM

No no man. I probably wasn't clear. It was about the difference between Xbox/Xbox One and PS1/PS4. Most, especially if you have even glanced at this site in the past 2 years, understand Xbox is behind PS4. But the quote was that Xbox 1 hadn't outsold the original Xbox. Well without the number that is hard to quantify. As you even stated yourself the PS4 is the 4th best selling Playstation. The wording was just sort of skewed a bit, that seemed to make the Xbox look worthless.

It was still a good read, but tidy those things up a bit next time is all I guess. Unbiased journalism and all that :P

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TheHighlander
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 5:51:52 PM
Reply

Just to add to the statistical nonsense of unit sales. This year, globally. PS VIta has outsold Nintendo WiiU with 604K sales vs 517K sales. There are 800,000 more PS Vitas than there are Nintendo WiiU. PS3 is closing in on 86 million units and sold more than 130K units this year. Xbox 360 is about a million units behind PS3, and of course, it's unlikely to grow much due to having been completely discontinued.

When you start looking, the trends in the industry are quite clear...and sometimes really surprising.

Vita remains far stronger outside the US with more than 5 times the unit sales in Europe than NA, and 9 times as many Vita sold in Japan vs NA. NA really does harbor some Vita hatred.

Oddities...Xbox 360 sold 36 units in Japan this year. Yes, thirty six. Xbox One has mustered 1,778 units. Amazingly enough PS Vita in North America sold approximately 20 times that number of units, and is considered an abject failure...in North America at least. Total lifetime sales of Xbox One in Japan is equal to approximately 6 months of North America Vita sales.

Global month on month sales show the PS4 continuing to increase the monhtly sales gap between itself and both Xbox One and WiiU. WiiU is clearly dead now. Xbox One is selling decently, and the relative movements based on the time of year are in sync for PS4 and Xbox One.

3DS is in decline also (even in Japan), Nintendo need something soon.

Last edited by TheHighlander on 4/12/2016 5:52:24 PM

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Banky A
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 6:37:22 PM
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RIP sweet prince, thanks for the fun times and growth.

I still remember the day I was coming home from 3rd year primary at ~9 years old to continue grinding Star Ocean 2 in the final dungeon, Fienal tower I think.

BAM stepdad came home with a PS2 because I showed huge interest in wanting it that month.

I continued to grind Star Ocean 2 intensely that afternoon after showing I was super thankful and I tried to play it cool, like "I'm not gonna trash the new toy you got me so fast man, I got self control here"...
I think I finished Star Ocean 2 that night haha. I don't think I'd ever finished a final dungeon so quickly.

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Bio
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 9:14:32 PM
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GOAT console, RIP

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ricksterj
Sunday, April 17, 2016 @ 4:26:57 PM
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U will be missed.

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