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If numbers (and Jim Ryan) are to be believed, the 23-year-old console still stands as the best-selling console ever, at least for now.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 1, 2024

2 Min Read
The fat and slim models of Sony's PlayStation 2 console.
Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment.

At a Glance

  • The PS2's big milestone was earned through a combination of strong first and third-party support and stable pricing.

According to newly exited PlayStation boss Jim Ryan, the PlayStation 2 console has sold over 160 million units in the course of its lifetime.

Guesting on the Official PlayStation Podcast, he disclosed the "high watermark" when asked about his PlayStation time during the 2000s. "That would be...160 million, which is the number of PS2s that we sold," he revealed.

Sony hasn't mentioned the PS2's sales in well over a decade, after it had sold 155 million as of 2012. PS2 production ended in January 2013, and its sales have been a debate topic since.

Analyst Daniel Ahmad argued Ryan's number may be off in either direction. Taking reports of PlayStation 3 sales into account, he estimated the PS2 may have actually sold somewhere between 158.6 million and 161.8 million.

"While this is as close as a final figure we'll ever get from Sony, it's also hard to say how much this has been rounded and whether Jim Ryan recalled the correct figure," he conceded.

Either way, the 23-year-old system currently stands as the best-selling console ever. Trailing behind it in second place is the Nintendo DS at 154.02 million (as of June 2016).

The PlayStation 2 is forever Sony's golden goose

Not unlike the Xbox 360 back in the day or the Nintendo Switch now, the PlayStation 2 was arguably the big console of its generation and the highest point of Sony's tenure.

A lot of that can be owed to its strong third-party support from publishers like EA, Ubisoft, and Capcom. Its online may not have been as big as Xbox Live, but those non-exclusive titles made up for it.

In terms of first-party, that lineup was equally strong across the board. Studios like Naughty Dog and Insomniac had been around for a while, but then-franchises like Jak and Ratchet & Clank (and Sly Cooper and God of War) went a long way in establishing the PS2's identity.

Most of those franchises have since faded, but the studios that made them (and are still around) got to where they are now because of their PS2 titles.

The system's $300 price point likely also helped, as did its backwards compatibility with original PlayStation games and its DualShock controller.

The PlayStation 2's glory days as the biggest console may soon be eclipsed by the Nintendo Switch. But it'll always have an important place in the industry regardless.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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