For many of us, the Mayan prophecy concerning the end of the world was a bit of a swing and a miss. But for one console, 2012 really did mean the end. After over 150 million units sold, Sony has finally put the PlayStation 2 out to pasture.
The grande dame of its time, the PS2 went toe-to-toe with such competitors as the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Gamecube. It's been quite a while since those two stepped out of the ring, with the Dreamcast forgotten by all save those who loved it. And yet the PS2 soldiered on, staying in production for six years after the introduction of its successor, the PS3.
Even now, as we bid the old bird farewell, the PS2 can hold its proverbial head high. Over 1.5 billion copies of nearly 11,000 titles were sold over the last 12 years. The 70 million PS3 sales to date pale in comparison the the numbers put up by the PS2. In fact, by the numbers, the PS2 is — make that was — the most successful console of all time.
Now, sure there's still a game or two to be released for the poor ol' system, but most of us would rather remember the PS2 as it was in its heyday. People (myself included) waited up all night, iPhone-style, outside local retailers for a chance to buy the first units off the production line. We marvelled at the inclusion of a DVD player in our console. We fell asleep at night to the soft, pulsing glow of the PS2's then-eye-popping blue LED light and the sound of the menu screen's crashing waves. At least I'm pretty sure that's what that was.
Those were the golden years for the PS2 — and maybe for consoles altogether. In 2012, Android and iOS devices sold a combined 200 million units. Games like Angry Birds and Words With Friends now dominate sales. The future of console gaming is, assuredly, in a state of flux. Perhaps the PS4 will revive Sony's market dominance, or perhaps that crown shall sit atop the Xbox 720 or even the Ouya. Only time will tell.
Time which has, at last, run out for one of the all-time greats of video gaming's legacy. Farewell PS2, may you rest in peace.