128-bit Sixth Generation Game Console - Dismantled for reference and curiosity
Details specific to the SCPH-50002 model at the end of this text.
Announced in 1999 and released 2000 the PlayStation 2 was Sony's jump into the sixth generation game console market. After the huge success of its predecessor the PlayStation, the PS2 commanded initial skyrocketing sales, continued success and a solid new console purchasing fan base well after the seventh generation consoles arrived. It was finally discontinued in late 2013.
Part of its huge success was that it had been designed to be backwards compatible with Playstation. Supporting most legacy software and controllers made it the first console intentionally released with this functionality without the need for an add-on.
Looking back however the PS2 had more of a haphazard release with a dash to add features not initially available to keep up with offerings from competitors; the SEGA Dreamcast and Microsoft XBOX. The Dreamcast marketing focused heavily on trying to elevate online gaming to something viable, reliable and actually a fun reality. Sony initially completely ignored the online option offering no online connectivity at all; pre SCPH-500xx series PS2s could be connected via the i.Link port for local multi-play.
When the XBOX was released in 2001 backed by the (at the time) impressive XBOX Live Service, Sony scrambled to fill the feature gap. The bulky PS2 Network Adapter add-on (Dial-up or Dial-up and Ethernet versions) was the answer. The add-on was inserted into the 3.5" Expansion Bay (available on models 30000 to 500xx) that can also accommodate the 40GB IDE PS2 HDD Hard Drive. Unlike Microsoft's in house server hosted online environment, Sony relied on game publishers to provide their own online options hosted on third party servers linked via a Sony hub. This resulted in settings for each game's connection needing to be stored on a memory card.
The service seems to have been so quickly released that it doesn't even have a name. PS2 Online, PS2 Network Play and PS2 Network Gaming are all commonly used, however none are an official, legal name. Compared to Microsoft's XBOX Live it was an okay solution to a glaring feature omission. By far the biggest draw card was that while XBOX Live was paid subscription based, the PS2 online service was free.
One of the other hardware options Sony seemed to back away from is the ability to add a 40GB IDE hard drive to the PS2; models 30000 to 500xx and SCPH-70000. The PS2 HDD also requires the PS2 Network Adapter to connect it to the PS2's motherboard and power seeing them sold as a pack. While the option allows games to be par copied onto the PS2 HDD to reduce loading time, only 35 US released games supported it and the Expansion Bay was removed with the release of the slim PS2. Final Fantasy XI is an example of the few games that requires the hard drive add-on to run.
All that stale stuff out of the way, more culturally interesting is the almost immediate arguments as soon as the XBOX was released as to which was the better console, PS2 or XBOX. Not since the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis vs. SNES fan war had such bickering existing.
Before anyone starts throwing stones, the truth is that while arguably not necessarily the better console, the XBOX wiped the floor with the PS2 as far as hardware goes. For a game console in 2001 it was a beast of a thing as the abridged specs below the images show.
In addition the Playstation 2 proprietary 'Emotion Engine' was extremely difficult to code for vs. the XBOX's hybrid nVidia/Microsoft custom architecture.
However.... the Playstation 2 had something the XBOX could never compete with..... the Playstation 1.
Having been such an amazingly well received console, the Playstation had paved a clear path for its successor sporting a solid fan base that greatly impacted both console and game sales. So even while the PS2 was significantly inferior in many ways (no anti aliasing for example) and many games that looked poor on the XBOX being PS2 ports with anti aliasing added (Electronic Arts regularly did this) the Playstation 2 was better received.
Which was the better console? It's clearly th..ssshh.sss.sssshhh.. sor-ry... sssssh..sssssh... we seem to have a bad connection..ssshhhh!
Model SCPH-50002 (the final number indicates the county released: '2' for Australia)
The 500xx series saw the addition of an infrared receiver to accommodate use of the PS2 Remote. The i.Link port was removed due to it seeing too little use and game support to make its continuation financially worthwhile.
The examples below include a Silver cased version with a mod chip installed.