Sony’s PlayStation 2 home gaming console launched in North America on October 26, 2000, going onto sell over 150 million units worldwide by 2011 and putting itself in a distant first place in terms of sales against its closest competitors, Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s GameCube (24 million and 21.7 million units sold, respectively) in the process. Bear in mind that this was a console that was technologically inferior to its competitors, as the Xbox and GameCube both had more powerful hardware than the PS2. So how did the least powerful gaming console of its era decimate its competitors and become the best-selling console of all time? Well, that’s a complicated question with many different factors, but if you were to nail down the best reasons for the PlayStation 2’s overwhelming success, the following would be it.
10. One Year Headstart
Although hitting the market early is not always a guarantee of success (one only need look at Sega’s Dreamcast for that, a console that ironically failed largely due to the PS2’s entry into the market a year later), but it worked in Sony’s favor when it came to the PS2 itself. Although it didn’t have a great launch lineup by any stretch, Sony spent the PS2’s first year making it the go-to console for new, innovative gaming experiences. The PS2’s fall 2001 lineup alone is one of the best ever, with titles such as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy X, and of course, Grand Theft Auto III offering consumers a dizzying amount of choice.
When the Xbox and Gamecube launched in November of that same year, they each brought a much better lineup of titles than Sony had a year earlier, but by that point, the PS2 had come into its own and offered the stronger, more varied game library. Factor in other selling points such as the built-in DVD player and backwards compatibility (more on those later) and you get a pretty good idea of why the PS2’s extra year on the market gave it a significant edge over the Xbox and GameCube.