Sony celebrated the start of the PlayStation 2's eleventh year of U.S. retail availability today, promising continued support for the system, which has sold over 145 million units worldwide.
"There is no better testament of our longevity as a brand and our true leadership in bringing forward technology to the masses, than what we’ve accomplished with the PS2," Sony President and CEO Jack Tretton said in a PlayStation.Blog post today
"The PS2 continues to be a defining moment in our legacy and we’re so thankful to you, our most passionate and loyal fans who’ve been with us since its inception."
Sony has been predicting a ten-year lifecycle for the PlayStation 2 since at least March 2004, when then-Sony Executive VP Andrew House used a keynote address at the Game Developers Conference
to predict that over 60 percent of the system's sales were yet to come.
House appears potentially poised to be accurate in his prediction, with approximately 51 percent of the system's lifetime worldwide sales so far coming since that statement, according to shipment numbers released by Sony.
But a tenth birthday party will not mean the end of Sony's support for the aging hardware, "The best part of this celebration is that PS2 is still one of the most played consoles out there with continued support from the development community," Tretton said today.
Initially priced at $299 for its U.S. release on October 26, 2000, hardware shortages plagued the PlayStation 2 for much of its first domestic holiday season. But the system's nearly year-long head start against competition from Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox -- as well as backward compatibility with the original PlayStation software and support for then-uncommon DVD video playback -- helped the system enjoy near-total control of the market for its entire console generation.