PlayStation 2

The PlayStation 2 (PS2) (Japanese: プレイステーション2) is Sony's second video game console, the successor to the PlayStation and the predecessor to the PlayStation 3. Its development was announced in March 1999, and it was first released in Japan on March 4, 2000 and in North America and Puerto Rico on October 26, 2000. It was released in Europe on November 24, 2000.

The PS2 is part of the sixth generation era, and has become the fastest selling gaming console in history, with over 100 million units shipped by November 2005, beating the previous record holder, the PlayStation, by three years and nine months.

History

Only a few million users had obtained consoles by the end of 2000 due to manufacturing delays. The PlayStation 2 was such a hot item after its release that it was near impossible to find one on retailer shelves, leaving those wanting a PlayStation 2 to either wait or purchase the console online at sites such as eBay, where the console was being sold by many people for twice and sometimes five times as much as the manufacturer's listed price. Developers also complained that it was difficult to develop for the system, with little in the way of reference material from Sony for its exotic architecture. The PS2 launch seemed unimpressive and gaffe-prone, compared to the well-planned launch of the Sega Dreamcast, which was making a genuine attempt to woo developers and which had better launch titles. Yet, the PS2 initially sold well solely on the basis of the strength of the PlayStation brand and its backwards compatibility, selling over 900,000 units in the first weekend in Japan. This allowed the PS2 to tap the large install base established by the PlayStation. Another major selling point over the Dreamcast was the PlayStation 2's ability to play DVDs, which gained it a presence in electronics stores which did not formerly sell video game consoles. Later, Sony gained steam with new development kits for game developers and more PlayStations for consumers.

Many analysts predicted a close 3-way matchup between the PS2 and its soon-to-be-released competitors Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube, noting that the PS2's graphics were inferior but that it had the advantage of a head start, and had a wide assortment of games of every genre (Xbox's strength was in its hardware; GameCube was the cheapest of the 3 consoles). However, the release of several blockbuster games during the 2001 holiday season pushed the PS2 far in front even as the Xbox and GameCube made their impressive debuts. Shortly afterwards, Sony also slashed PS2 prices greater than expected in order to maintain momentum and hold off its potential rivals. [1]

Although Sony placed little emphasis on online gaming during its first year, that changed upon the launch of the online-capable Xbox. Sony rolled a PS2 online adapter in late 2002 to compete with Microsoft, with several online first party online titles released alongside it, such as SOCOM US Navy SEALS in order to show that Sony was supporting this feature actively. Sony also advertised heavily, and its online model had the advantage of being supported by Electronic Arts. As a result, although Sony and Nintendo both started out late and although both followed a decentralized model of online gaming where the responsibility is up to the developer to provide the servers, Sony's attempt was the more successful between the two. The Xbox Live system (with it's built in capabilities) is however the most successful of the three.

Hardware sales remained strong until 2004 saw the console apparently approaching saturation point, causing it to lose the top sales position for a time [2]. The heavy dependence of Sony on its Computer Entertainment division was shown when dropping PlayStation 2 sales [3] caused the parent's profits to fall 89% [4]. During that year, game sales fell to $7.5 billion from $8.2 billion. Its operating income slid to $650 million from $1 billion, losing $25 million in Q4 of 2004. [5]. Acording to NPD Group the Xbox outsold PS2 during 5 months of 2004: April, July, August, November and December. Despite this, Sony console won the total 2004 sales by 600 thousands units of difference.

In September of that year, in time for the launch of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (the best-selling game during the 2004 Holiday season), Sony revealed a new, smaller PS2 (see Hardware revisions). In preparation for the launch of a new, slimmer PlayStation 2 model (SCPH-70000), Sony had stopped making the older PS2 model (SCPH-5000x) sometime during the summer of 2004 to let the distribution channel empty out stock of the units. After an apparent manufacturing issue caused some initial slowdown in producing the new unit, Sony reportedly underestimated demand, caused in part by shortages between the time the old units were cleared out and the new units were ready. This led to further shortages, and the issue was compounded in Britain when a Russian oil tanker became stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking a ship from China carrying PS2s bound for the UK. During one week in November, sales in the entire country of Britain totalled 6,000 units — compared to 70,000 a few weeks prior. [6] Shortages in North America were also extremely severe; one retail chain in the U.S., GameStop, had just 186 PS2 and Xbox units on hand across more than 1700 stores on the day before Christmas. [7]

Sales record

When the PlayStation 2 launched in Japan in March 2000, Sony sold 980,000 units over the opening weekend. [8]

When the PlayStation 2 launched in America in October 26, 2000, Sony sold 510,000 units within the first 24 hours. With a price of $299.99 per console, Sony made gross sales of roughly $153,000,000. To this day, the PS2 holds the record for the most consoles sold in a single day as well as the record for most consoles sold in launch day in America. PS2's opening day console sales eclipsed the previous record of 225,000 made by the Sega Dreamcast in 1999.

The PlayStation 2 holds the record of fastest selling video game console ever, 100 million PlayStation 2 units were shipped in only five years and nine months, shattering the previous record of nine years and six months by the PlayStation. [9]

Games

The PlayStation brand's strength has lead to strong third-party support for the system. Although the launch titles for the PS2 were unimpressive in 2000, the holiday season of 2001 saw the release of several best-selling and critically acclaimed games. Those PS2 titles helped the PS2 maintain and extend its lead in the video game console market, despite increased competition from the launches of the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. In several cases, Sony made exclusivity deals with publishers in order to pre-empt its competitors. Critically acclaimed games on the machine are the Grand Theft Auto and the ever-popular Final Fantasy (Square Enix) series, the latest two Metal Gear Solid titles, all three Devil May Cry titles, the SSX series, latest three Ace Combat titles, the Square Enix/Disney collaboration Kingdom Hearts, and first-party Sony Computer Entertainment brands such as the Gran Turismo, SOCOM, Ratchet & Clank and Jak and Daxter series, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War and the Everquest spin-offs Champions of Norrath and Champions: Return to Arms.

Hardware compatibility

PlayStation 2 default black 8MB Memory Card

The PS2 hardware can read both compact discs and DVDs. It is backwards compatible with older PlayStation (PS1) games, allows for DVD Video playback, and will play PS2 games off cheap CD-ROMs or higher-capacity DVD-ROMs. The ability to play DVD movies allowed consumers to more easily justify the PS2's relatively high price tag (in October 2000, the MSRP was $300) as it removed the need to buy an external DVD player (indeed, it could be said that the success of the DVD format was partly due to the PS2's ability to play DVDs, as the format seemed to appeal more to consumers after the console's launch). The PS2 also supports PS1 memory cards (for PS1 game saves only) and controllers as well. The PS2's Dual Shock 2 controller is essentially an upgraded PS1 Dual Shock; analog face, shoulder and D-pad buttons replaced the digital buttons of the original.

When it was released, the PS2 had many advanced features that were not present in other contemporary video game consoles, including its DVD capabilities and USB and IEEE 1394 expansion ports. It was not until late 2001 that the Microsoft Xbox became the second console with (non-standard) USB and DVD support. (This is assuming the Nuon, an advanced DVD player graphics coprocessor, is not considered a console.) Even then, the Xbox required separate remote accessory to unlock the DVD function and Sony could continue to pitch the PS2 as DVD capable out of the box.

Note that compatability with USB devices is dependent on the software supporting said USB device. For example, the PS2 will not boot an ISO image from a USB flash drive, but Gran Turismo 4 can save screenshots to one.

Software compatibility

Support for original PlayStation games was also an important selling point for the PS2, letting owners of an older system upgrade to the PlayStation 2 and keep their old software, and giving new users access to older games until a larger library was developed for the new system. As an added bonus, the PS2 had the ability to enhance PlayStation games by speeding up disc read time and/or adding texture smoothing to improve graphics. While the texture smoothing was universally effective (albeit with odd effects where transparent textures are used), faster disk reading could cause some games to fail to load or play correctly.

A handful of PlayStation titles (notably Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions) fail to run on the PS2 at all (Special Missions fails to recognise Metal Gear Solid at the disk swap screen, for example). This problem appears to have been rectified in the slimline versions of the PS2, where most of the previously unplayable PSone games can now be played. It is a common misconception that disk swapping in a game (for example, for multi-disk games or expansion packs) is not possible on the PS2. The anomalous failure of the above title at its disk swap screen may have given birth to this rumor. Software for all PlayStation consoles contains one of four region codes: for Japan and Asia: NTSC/J, North America: NTSC-U/C, Europe and Oceania: PAL, and China: NTSC/C[10].

Online play

With the purchase of a separate unit called the Network Adaptor (which is built into the newest system revision), some PS2 games support online multiplayer. Instead of having a unified, subscription-based online service like Xbox Live, online multiplayer on the PS2 is split between publishers and run on third-party servers. However, this comes at a price as any connection can connect to the internet with a PS2, resulting in lag whenever slow connections are present. Most recent PS2 online games have been developed to exclusively only support broadband internet access. Xbox Live exclusively requires broadband internet.

All newer online PS2 games (since 2003) are protected by the Dynamic Network Authentication System (DNAS). The purpose of this system is to prevent piracy and online cheating. DNAS will prevent games from being played online if they are determined to be pirated copies, or if they have been modified.

Home development

Linux for PlayStation 2

Sony released a version of the Linux operating system for the PS2 in a package that also includes a keyboard, mouse, Ethernet adapter and hard disk drive. Currently, Sony's online store states that the Linux kit is no longer for sale in North America. However as of July 2005, the European version was still available. (The kit boots by installing a proprietary interface, the Run-time environment which is on a region-coded DVD, so the European and USA kits each only work with a PS2 from that region).

In Europe and Australia, the PlayStation 2 comes with a free Yabasic interpreter on the bundled demo disk. This allows simple programs to be created for the PlayStation 2 by the end-user. This was included in a failed attempt to circumvent a UK tax by defining the console as a "computer" if it contained certain software.

A port of the NetBSD project is also available for the PS2.

It is also possible to listen to MP3 music and watch DivX movies with homebrew programs running in consoles that have a modchip installed or with network software like GameShark's Media Player.

Hardware revisions

The PlayStation 2 has undergone many revisions, some only of internal construction and others with substantial external changes. These are colloquially known amongst PlayStation 2 hardware hackers as V0, V1, V2, etc., up to V14 (as of 2005).

V0 was a Japanese model and was never sold in Europe or the US. These included a PCMCIA slot instead of the Expansion Bay (DEV9) port of newer models. V0 did not have a built-in DVD player and instead relied on an encrypted player that was copied to a memory card from an included CD-ROM (normally, the PS2 will only execute encrypted software from its memory card, but see PS2 Independence Exploit). V3 has a substantially different internal structure from the subsequent revisions, featuring several interconnected printed circuit boards. As of V4 everything was unified into one board, except the power supply. V5 introduces minor internal changes and the only difference between V6 (sometimes called V5.1) and V5 is the orientation of the Power/Reset switch board connector, which was reversed to prevent the use of no-solder modchips. V7 and V8 are also similar. Assembly of the PS2 moved to China with the V9 (model number SCPH-50000/SCPH-50001), which added the Infrared port for the optional DVD Remote Control, removed the widely unused FireWire port, added the capability to read DVD-RW and +RW discs, and a quieter fan. V10 and V11 have minor changes.

The two versions of the PS2 with an Eye Toy camera

In September 2004 Sony unveiled the third major hardware revision (V12, model number SCPH-70000). Available in November 2004, it is smaller and thinner than the old version and includes a built-in Ethernet port. In some markets it also integrates a modem. Due to its thinner profile, it does not contain the 3.5" expansion bay, and therefore does not support the internal hard disk drive but due to the presence of USB 2.0 ports an external USB Hard disk can still be used, and now uses an external power supply, like the Gamecube. Although external USB 2.0 enclosures are affordable the lack of internal hard disk has implicated a problem for users with perhaps little knowledge of the software required to enable the external disk functionality. For some consumers this is in fact a limitation, especially for the fans of titles such as Final Fantasy XI, which requires the use of this peripheral, and prevents the use of the official PS2 Linux kit. A product named HD Connect can be soldered into the unit giving hard drive support though. It is widely believed that Sony has abandoned support for the hard drive. There are also some disputes on the numbering for this PS2 version, since there are actually two sub-versions of the SCPH-70000. One of them includes the old EE and GS chips, and the other contains the newer unified EE+GS chip, otherwise being identical. Since the V12 version had already been established for this model, there were some disputes regarding these sub-versions. Two propositions were to name the old model (EE and GS, separate chips) V11.5 and the newer model V12, and to name the old model V12 and the newer model V13. Currently, most people just use V12 for both models, or V12 for the old model and V13 for the newer one.

The new V12 model was first released in black. A silver edition is available in the United Kingdom and Germany exclusively. It is unknown whether or not this will follow the color schemes of the older model.

The Japanese PSX console.

There is also now a V14 model (SCPH-75001) which contains an integrated EE and GS (disputed ), and different ASICs compared to previous revisions, some chips having a copyright date of 2005 compared to 2000 or 2001 for earlier models. It also has a different lens and some compatibility issues documented by Sony for earlier PS2 games.

Sony has also made a PVR/DVD burning consumer device that plays PlayStation 2 games called the PSX. The device was poorly received, with some major features absent from the first revisions of the hardware, and has thus far experienced very weak sales in Japan, in spite of major price drops [11]. The machine's future continues to be uncertain, with North American and European launches considered to be distant if at all.

Later hardware revisions had better compatibility with PlayStation games (Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions works on most silver models). However, the new Japanese slim models have more issues with playing PlayStation games than the first PS2 revisions. [citation needed]

Accessories

DualShock 2

Main articles: DualShock, PlayStation 2 Expansion Bay

The PS2's controller is largely identical to the PlayStation's, with the same basic functionality; however, it includes analog pressure sensitivity on the face and shoulder buttons, is lighter and includes two more levels of vibration. The fact that the design didn't change pleased some consumers who were already used to the PS1 controller, however, it disappointed others who were hoping for a more ergonomic design (the two analogue sticks being as they are in an awkward-to-use position for the thumbs to operate).

Optional hardware include additional controllers ,a DVD remote control, a hard disk, an Ethernet adapter, memory cards, and various cables and interconnects: Multitap, YPbPr, S-Video, RGB SCART and composite video cables, RF modulator, USB camera ("EyeToy"), keyboard, mouse and a Headset. Unlike the original Playstation, which required that the user use an official Sony Playstation mouse to play mouse-compatible games, the few Playstation 2 games with mouse support work with standard PC-compatible USB mice. Early versions of the Playstation 2 could be networked via an iLink port, though this had little game support and was dropped.

Technical Issues

Disc Read Error

Owners of early PS2 models purchased from launch until spring 2002 commonly reported faulty optical drives in their consoles. The earliest drives suffered from a constantly misaligning laser lens but later defects were the result of a shift in voltage to the laser itself. The first problem was relatively easy to remedy, but it required opening the machine's casing and tweaking a cog that controlled the lens' distance from the discs it was supposed to read, thus voiding the warranty. This usually didn't matter, as the warranty had already expired by the time such problems began to appear. The second fix involved the use of an oscillator. As time went on, more and more drives began breaking down and a class action lawsuit was filed against Sony. They had the option of either paying the requested fines in damages, or offering free repair and replacements at their discretion. [12] Sony chose the latter and, until February 2005, they honored their agreement.

A second lawsuit is being filed against Sony for all of the above, plus claims that defective hardware is damaging media discs. The first hearings are set to commence in April and May, 2006. More information: PS2 Settlement

Modchips

The PlayStation 2, like the original PlayStation, incorporates circuitry to prevent the playing of copied or out-of-region discs. In response to this, a thriving "underground" grey market exists, selling modchips. These devices, when installed, bypass the checks and allow the discs to run.

The installation of modchips in PlayStation 2 consoles is widely discouraged by Sony and many user groups and technicians. The obvious reason is piracy, but the chips also have several other drawbacks as well. Many of these chips work on a different voltage than the console, risking damage to the unit.

Because of the existence of these hazards, Sony has overlaid a seal onto each of their consoles. If this seal is broken (thus providing evidence that the console has been opened and possibly modified), Sony will refuse to repair the system.

However, in Australia, the court has ruled that using a modchip to play legally purchased game from another region is legal, thus making the modchip legal in Australia. Conversely, a court in the United Kingdom ruled [13] in 2004 that commercial possession, sale, installation or use of a modchip was illegal under the EU Copyright Directive.

Screenshots

Technical specifications

The specifications of the PlayStation 2 console are as follows, with hardware revisions:

Emotion Engine CPU
  • CPU: 128 bit "Emotion Engine" clocked at 294 MHz (later versions 299 MHz), 10.5 million transistors
    • System Memory: 32 MB Direct Rambus or RDRAM (note that some computers use this type of RAM)
    • Memory Bus Bandwidth: 3.2 GB per second
    • Main processor: MIPS R5900 CPU core, 64 bit
    • Co-Processor: FPU (Floating Point Multiply Accumulator × 1, Floating Point Divider × 1)
    • Vector Units: VU0 and VU1 (Floating Point Multiply Accumulator × 9, Floating Point Divider × 1), 128 bit
    • Floating Point Performance: 6.2 GFLOPS (single precission 32-bit floating point)
    • 3D CG Geometric Transformation: 66 million polygons per second (1)
    • Compressed Image Decoder: MPEG-2
    • I/O Processor interconnection: Remote Procedure Call over a serial link, DMA controller for bulk transfer
    • Cache Memory: Instruction: 16KB, Data: 8KB + 16 KB (ScrP)
  • Graphics: "Graphics Synthesizer" clocked at 147 MHz
    • DRAM Bus bandwidth: 47.0GB per second
    • DRAM Bus width: 2560-bit (composed of three independendent buses: 1024-bit write, 1024-bit read, 512-bit read/write)
    • Pixel Configuration: RGB:Alpha:Z Buffer (24:8, 15:1 for RGB, 16, 24, or 32-bit Z buffer)
    • Maximum Polygon Rate: 75 million polygons per second (1)
    • Dedicated connection to: Main CPU and VU1
  • Sound: "SPU1+SPU2" (SPU1 is actually the CPU)
    • Number of voices: 48 hardware channels of ADPCM on SPU2 plus software-mixed channels
    • Sampling Frequency: 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz (selectable)
  • I/O Processor
    • CPU Core: Original PlayStation CPU (MIPS R3000A clocked at 33.8688 MHz or 37.5 MHz)
    • Sub Bus: 32 Bit
    • Connection to: SPU and CD/DVD controller.
    • Interface Types: 2 proprietary PlayStation controller ports (250KHz clock for PS1 and 500KHz for PS2 controllers), 2 proprietary Memory Card slots using MagicGate encryption (250KHz for PS1 cards, up to 2MHz for PS2 cards -may be just 1MHz, please, confirmate it-), Expansion Bay (DEV9 or PCMCIA on early models) port for Network Adaptor, Modem and Hard Disk Drive, IEEE 1394 (2), Infrared remote control port (2), and 2 USB 1.1 ports with an OHCI-compatible controller.
  • Disc Media: DVD-ROM (CD-ROM compatible) with copy protection. 4.7GB capacity, a few are DVD-9 (8.5 GB)

(1) Polygons per second under ideal circumstances (e.g. no texturing, lighting, or vertex colors applied). Some criticize these figures for being unrealistic, and not indicative of real-world performance. The true polygons per second figure with full textures, effects etc. is around 7 million.

(2) IEEE 1394 removed in SCPH-50000 and later hardware versions, and Infrared remote port added.

Price history

North America

  • US$299.99 (October 26, 2000, Launch Price)
  • US$199.99 (May 14, 2002)
  • US$179.99 (May 13, 2003)
  • US$149.99 (May 11, 2004)

Japan

  • JP¥39,800 (March 2000, Launch Price)
  • JP¥35,000 (June 29, 2001)
  • JP¥29,800 (November 29, 2001)
  • JP¥25,000 (2002)
  • JP¥19,800 (November 13, 2003)
  • JP¥17,800 (June 2004)

Republic of China (Taiwan)

  • NT$10,900 (January 24, 2002, SCPH-30007, Launch Price)
  • NT$ 7,980 (January 1, 2003, SCPH-30007)
  • NT$ 6,980 (2003, SCPH-39007)
  • NT$ 6,980 (October 10, 2003, SCPH-50007)
  • NT$ 6,480 (January 1, 2004, SCPH-50007)
  • NT$ 5,888 (June 1, 2004, SCPH-50007)
  • NT$ 5,888 (November 3, 2004, SCPH-70007)

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Republic of China (Taiwan).
. Japan. This design proved good enough to last well into the 1980s with emissions modifications while most others carburetors were dropped for the easier to build fuel injection when economy mattered. North America. Similar carburetors include the Thermoquad and the Q-jet. (2) IEEE 1394 removed in SCPH-50000 and later hardware versions, and Infrared remote port added. While it has been derided by many as a poor performer, many have shown that with proper understanding, it can compete at most levels with other designs.

is around 7 million. By the end of the muscle car era, the Quadrajet setup had become the nearly-ubiquitous choice on PMD engines, due to its excellent economy and power characteristics. The true polygons per second figure with full textures, effects etc. Spread-bore refers to either the distance between the primaries or to the difference in sizes between the primaries and secondaries. Some criticize these figures for being unrealistic, and not indicative of real-world performance. This carburetor was later replaced by the Quadrajet, a spread bore. no texturing, lighting, or vertex colors applied). PMD also had a square-bore 4-barrel at the time, but this was rated at a lower power than the Tri-Power.

(1) Polygons per second under ideal circumstances (e.g. This went through various permutations before being banned by GM. The specifications of the PlayStation 2 console are as follows, with hardware revisions:. This was accomplished two ways, mechanically for the manual transmission models, and via a vacuum-switch on the automatics. Conversely, a court in the United Kingdom ruled [13] in 2004 that commercial possession, sale, installation or use of a modchip was illegal under the EU Copyright Directive. The Tri-Power setup included one center carburetor with idle control and two end carburetors that did not until the throttle was partly opened. However, in Australia, the court has ruled that using a modchip to play legally purchased game from another region is legal, thus making the modchip legal in Australia. These were the basis for the Tri-Power setups on the engines.

If this seal is broken (thus providing evidence that the console has been opened and possibly modified), Sony will refuse to repair the system. PMD originally used Rochester 1-barrel carburetors for many years, but by the time of the second generation engines had switched mostly to the 2-barrel offerings. Because of the existence of these hazards, Sony has overlaid a seal onto each of their consoles. PMD engines were unique for their rear distributor, integrated water pump and timing chain cover, and separate valley pan and intake. Many of these chips work on a different voltage than the console, risking damage to the unit. All Pontiac Motor Division (PMD) engines (pre-1980 unified GM) were designed around a low-RPM/high-torque model, as opposed to the ubiquitous Chevrolet Small-Block engine known for its smaller displacement and high RPM/high power design. The obvious reason is piracy, but the chips also have several other drawbacks as well. See Pontiac V8 engine.

The installation of modchips in PlayStation 2 consoles is widely discouraged by Sony and many user groups and technicians. Pontiac engines were not available in Canada, however, but were replaced with Chevrolet engines of similar size and power, resulting in such interesting and unusual (at least to American car fans) models as the 396 GTO. These devices, when installed, bypass the checks and allow the discs to run. The 301 has a 4 inch bore and 3 inch stroke, identical to the vaunted Chevrolet and Ford 302 motors. In response to this, a thriving "underground" grey market exists, selling modchips. Produced from 1977 through 1981, this motor has the distinction of being the last Pontiac V8 produced by PMD. The PlayStation 2, like the original PlayStation, incorporates circuitry to prevent the playing of copied or out-of-region discs. The non-traditional Pontiac V8 was the 301 and the smaller displacement 265 in³.

More information: PS2 Settlement. This dimensional similarity between engines of various capacity also made it possible for Pontiac to invent the modern muscle car, by the relatively simple process of placing its largest engines into its midsize cars, creating the Pontiac GTO. The first hearings are set to commence in April and May, 2006. This similarity (except the 301 & 265) makes rebuilding these engines particularly easy, as almost any Pontiac engine you can find will contain useful parts. A second lawsuit is being filed against Sony for all of the above, plus claims that defective hardware is damaging media discs. Sizes ranged from 265 in³ to 455 in³. [12] Sony chose the latter and, until February 2005, they honored their agreement. Pontiac's Second Generation V8 engines were nearly identical, allowing many parts to interchange from its advent in 1958 to its demise in 1981.

They had the option of either paying the requested fines in damages, or offering free repair and replacements at their discretion. A majority of Pontiac dealerships also sell GMC trucks - the trade name used by GM executives is the Pontiac/GMC division. As time went on, more and more drives began breaking down and a class action lawsuit was filed against Sony. Called the Grand Prix GXP, it would give the Grand Prix its first V8 since 1987. The second fix involved the use of an oscillator. Also, in 2005, Pontiac put a V8 under the hood of the Grand Prix. This usually didn't matter, as the warranty had already expired by the time such problems began to appear. Solstice became one of hottest car America's throughout 2005 as Pontiac reported orders far beyond their ability to produce the car, and dealer mark-ups of thousands of dollars over sticker price, a rarity for GM in this time of deep incentives.

The first problem was relatively easy to remedy, but it required opening the machine's casing and tweaking a cog that controlled the lens' distance from the discs it was supposed to read, thus voiding the warranty. It was launched on an episode of The Apprentice; the following day the first thousand Solstices were sold in just 41 minutes. The earliest drives suffered from a constantly misaligning laser lens but later defects were the result of a shift in voltage to the laser itself. In the summer of 2005, the Pontiac Solstice sports roadster arrived, and with it the renewed promise of style and driving fun. Owners of early PS2 models purchased from launch until spring 2002 commonly reported faulty optical drives in their consoles. But its lackluster styling turned off many buyers and forced GM to add hood scoops and other styling touches in order to make the GTO look like the originals. Early versions of the Playstation 2 could be networked via an iLink port, though this had little game support and was dropped.
. Producing 400 hp from a thoroughly modern V8 engine, and with a world-class chassis, the new GTO is at least as good as its predecessors.

Unlike the original Playstation, which required that the user use an official Sony Playstation mouse to play mouse-compatible games, the few Playstation 2 games with mouse support work with standard PC-compatible USB mice. Beginning late 2004, GM's Holden division produced a version of their Monaro coupe with Pontiac trim and all the attitude of the original 1960s editions. Optional hardware include additional controllers ,a DVD remote control, a hard disk, an Ethernet adapter, memory cards, and various cables and interconnects: Multitap, YPbPr, S-Video, RGB SCART and composite video cables, RF modulator, USB camera ("EyeToy"), keyboard, mouse and a Headset. Finding limitted numbers of smaller RWD coupe platforms, Pontiac looked to Holden, a GM division of Australia, for the platform of their GTO. The fact that the design didn't change pleased some consumers who were already used to the PS1 controller, however, it disappointed others who were hoping for a more ergonomic design (the two analogue sticks being as they are in an awkward-to-use position for the thumbs to operate). One of his first ideas was to bring back the GTO in order to revive Pontiac's performance heritage in light of the Firebird's demise. The PS2's controller is largely identical to the PlayStation's, with the same basic functionality; however, it includes analog pressure sensitivity on the face and shoulder buttons, is lighter and includes two more levels of vibration. In 2001, Bob Lutz, the former Vice-Chairman of Chrysler Corporation was hired to help turn GM around.

Main articles: DualShock, PlayStation 2 Expansion Bay. With the demise of the Fiero in 1988, Pontiac only offered badge engineered products from other GM divisions. [citation needed]
. While it was not performance oriented in its initial release, its final versions with improved suspension geometry and available 2.8L V6 made the Fiero a potent mid-engined sports car. However, the new Japanese slim models have more issues with playing PlayStation games than the first PS2 revisions. Drawing heavily from GM's parts bin, the Fiero was initially billed as a commuter car. Later hardware revisions had better compatibility with PlayStation games (Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions works on most silver models). That was until the Pontiac Fiero was introduced in 1983 as a 1984 model.

The machine's future continues to be uncertain, with North American and European launches considered to be distant if at all. From the late-1970's on to the late-1980's, while downsizing its North American operations, General Motors had little funds to spend on independent brand-specific performance platforms. The device was poorly received, with some major features absent from the first revisions of the hardware, and has thus far experienced very weak sales in Japan, in spite of major price drops [11]. And then, it too was gone. Sony has also made a PVR/DVD burning consumer device that plays PlayStation 2 games called the PSX. Most telling was the fate of the GTO - originally conceived as a powerful mid-size coupe, by 1974 the GTO option was offered only on the compact Ventura, a rebadged Chevrolet Nova. It also has a different lens and some compatibility issues documented by Sony for earlier PS2 games. By 1972, few were left on the market.

There is also now a V14 model (SCPH-75001) which contains an integrated EE and GS (disputed ), and different ASICs compared to previous revisions, some chips having a copyright date of 2005 compared to 2000 or 2001 for earlier models. While production first started in the late 1950s, it did not hit its stride until the late 1960s. It is unknown whether or not this will follow the color schemes of the older model. Just about the time that these muscle cars were getting big attention, emissions regulations and oil shortages quickly ground them to a halt. A silver edition is available in the United Kingdom and Germany exclusively. This pattern continued through the late 1970s, after which the Trans Am became more of a luxury model than a real performance machine. The new V12 model was first released in black. Early on, the Trans Am was most notable for having the very same 400 in³ V8 engine as its big GTO counterpart, but in a smaller body.

Currently, most people just use V12 for both models, or V12 for the old model and V13 for the newer one. Even more famous was the limited-edition Firebird Trans Am, which was first offered in 1969 and continued through the end of the Firebird in 2002. Two propositions were to name the old model (EE and GS, separate chips) V11.5 and the newer model V12, and to name the old model V12 and the newer model V13. They did so in 2002, after 35 years of continuous production. Since the V12 version had already been established for this model, there were some disputes regarding these sub-versions. The Firebird began to be seen as little more than an expensive Camaro - and when sales of the F-body twins began to falter, it didn't take long for GM to pull the plug. One of them includes the old EE and GS chips, and the other contains the newer unified EE+GS chip, otherwise being identical. Over time, Americans began to slowly switch to smaller FWD sport compacts like the Celica and Datsun Z, and Firebird sales slowly began to fall.

There are also some disputes on the numbering for this PS2 version, since there are actually two sub-versions of the SCPH-70000. As upscale competition for sporty cars like the Ford Mustang or the Dodge Challenger, the Firebird was perfectly positioned. It is widely believed that Sony has abandoned support for the hard drive. This body style and its underlying Chevrolet Nova chassis were shared with the Camaro, but the Firebird's engines and trim were totally different. A product named HD Connect can be soldered into the unit giving hard drive support though. The Pontiac Firebird, introduced in 1967, was an F-body car that closely mirrored the styling and motor offerings of the LeMans/Tempest cars but was placed on a smaller, sportier platform. For some consumers this is in fact a limitation, especially for the fans of titles such as Final Fantasy XI, which requires the use of this peripheral, and prevents the use of the official PS2 Linux kit. Throughout the 1960s, GTOs were well known for their combination of stunning looks and incredible performance.

Although external USB 2.0 enclosures are affordable the lack of internal hard disk has implicated a problem for users with perhaps little knowledge of the software required to enable the external disk functionality. By being the first brand to feature a large engine in a mid size car Pontiac is often credited with launching the muscle car era. Due to its thinner profile, it does not contain the 3.5" expansion bay, and therefore does not support the internal hard disk drive but due to the presence of USB 2.0 ports an external USB Hard disk can still be used, and now uses an external power supply, like the Gamecube. It was the first Mid Size GM vehicle to be powered by GM's 389 cubic inch V-8. In some markets it also integrates a modem. The Pontiac GTO was introduced in 1964 by Pontiac's John DeLorean as an option package on the LeMans/Tempest (GM A-body) car. Available in November 2004, it is smaller and thinner than the old version and includes a built-in Ethernet port. Wide-track gave the car a broader stance, by increasing the width between the wheels, and claimed greater stability and increased traction.

In September 2004 Sony unveiled the third major hardware revision (V12, model number SCPH-70000). After the introduction of the Bonneville in 1957, Pontiac's next success was the introduction of its Wide-Track suspension layout in 1959. V10 and V11 have minor changes. For many years each GM division had its own market niche - Chevrolet was equated with value, Oldsmobile with technology, Buick was marketed affordable luxury, Cadillac as ultimate luxury and Pontiac embraced performance. Assembly of the PS2 moved to China with the V9 (model number SCPH-50000/SCPH-50001), which added the Infrared port for the optional DVD Remote Control, removed the widely unused FireWire port, added the capability to read DVD-RW and +RW discs, and a quieter fan. Since the 1957 introduction of the Bonneville, Pontiac marketing has emphasized performance; the division's slogan for many years was "We Build Excitment". V7 and V8 are also similar. .

V5 introduces minor internal changes and the only difference between V6 (sometimes called V5.1) and V5 is the orientation of the Power/Reset switch board connector, which was reversed to prevent the use of no-solder modchips. Another slang term used in the early stages of brand was "Indian" due the subject matter of its logo. As of V4 everything was unified into one board, except the power supply. An alternate slang term for the marque among performance enthusiasts includes Poncho. V3 has a substantially different internal structure from the subsequent revisions, featuring several interconnected printed circuit boards. The current Pontiac logo was originally meant to represent a Native American arrow-head. V0 did not have a built-in DVD player and instead relied on an encrypted player that was copied to a memory card from an included CD-ROM (normally, the PS2 will only execute encrypted software from its memory card, but see PS2 Independence Exploit). A Native American Headdress was used as a logo until 1956.

These included a PCMCIA slot instead of the Expansion Bay (DEV9) port of newer models. As Pontiac' sales rose and Oakland's sales continued to decline, Pontiac became the only sudsidiary to survive its parent brand. V0 was a Japanese model and was never sold in Europe or the US. Within months of its introduction Pontiac outsold Oakland. These are colloquially known amongst PlayStation 2 hardware hackers as V0, V1, V2, etc., up to V14 (as of 2005). The first General Motors Pontiac was conceived as an affordable six cylinder that was intended to compete with more inexpensive four cylinder models. The PlayStation 2 has undergone many revisions, some only of internal construction and others with substantial external changes. The Pontiac name had been used on by another manufacturer in 1906, but that company did not survive.

It is also possible to listen to MP3 music and watch DivX movies with homebrew programs running in consoles that have a modchip installed or with network software like GameShark's Media Player. The Pontiac brand was introduced by General Motors in 1926 as the subsidiary to GM's Oakland Motor Car line. A port of the NetBSD project is also available for the PS2. In the GM brand lineup, Pontiac is a mid-level brand featuring a more sporting, performance-driving experience for a reasonable price, and a youthful feel to its advertising. This was included in a failed attempt to circumvent a UK tax by defining the console as a "computer" if it contained certain software. Pontiac is a marque of automobile produced by General Motors and sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico from 1926 to the present. This allows simple programs to be created for the PlayStation 2 by the end-user.

In Europe and Australia, the PlayStation 2 comes with a free Yabasic interpreter on the bundled demo disk. (The kit boots by installing a proprietary interface, the Run-time environment which is on a region-coded DVD, so the European and USA kits each only work with a PS2 from that region). However as of July 2005, the European version was still available. Currently, Sony's online store states that the Linux kit is no longer for sale in North America.

Sony released a version of the Linux operating system for the PS2 in a package that also includes a keyboard, mouse, Ethernet adapter and hard disk drive. DNAS will prevent games from being played online if they are determined to be pirated copies, or if they have been modified. The purpose of this system is to prevent piracy and online cheating. All newer online PS2 games (since 2003) are protected by the Dynamic Network Authentication System (DNAS).

Xbox Live exclusively requires broadband internet. Most recent PS2 online games have been developed to exclusively only support broadband internet access. However, this comes at a price as any connection can connect to the internet with a PS2, resulting in lag whenever slow connections are present. Instead of having a unified, subscription-based online service like Xbox Live, online multiplayer on the PS2 is split between publishers and run on third-party servers.

With the purchase of a separate unit called the Network Adaptor (which is built into the newest system revision), some PS2 games support online multiplayer. Software for all PlayStation consoles contains one of four region codes: for Japan and Asia: NTSC/J, North America: NTSC-U/C, Europe and Oceania: PAL, and China: NTSC/C[10]. The anomalous failure of the above title at its disk swap screen may have given birth to this rumor. It is a common misconception that disk swapping in a game (for example, for multi-disk games or expansion packs) is not possible on the PS2.

This problem appears to have been rectified in the slimline versions of the PS2, where most of the previously unplayable PSone games can now be played. A handful of PlayStation titles (notably Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions) fail to run on the PS2 at all (Special Missions fails to recognise Metal Gear Solid at the disk swap screen, for example). While the texture smoothing was universally effective (albeit with odd effects where transparent textures are used), faster disk reading could cause some games to fail to load or play correctly. As an added bonus, the PS2 had the ability to enhance PlayStation games by speeding up disc read time and/or adding texture smoothing to improve graphics.

Support for original PlayStation games was also an important selling point for the PS2, letting owners of an older system upgrade to the PlayStation 2 and keep their old software, and giving new users access to older games until a larger library was developed for the new system. For example, the PS2 will not boot an ISO image from a USB flash drive, but Gran Turismo 4 can save screenshots to one. Note that compatability with USB devices is dependent on the software supporting said USB device. (This is assuming the Nuon, an advanced DVD player graphics coprocessor, is not considered a console.) Even then, the Xbox required separate remote accessory to unlock the DVD function and Sony could continue to pitch the PS2 as DVD capable out of the box.

It was not until late 2001 that the Microsoft Xbox became the second console with (non-standard) USB and DVD support. When it was released, the PS2 had many advanced features that were not present in other contemporary video game consoles, including its DVD capabilities and USB and IEEE 1394 expansion ports. The PS2's Dual Shock 2 controller is essentially an upgraded PS1 Dual Shock; analog face, shoulder and D-pad buttons replaced the digital buttons of the original. The PS2 also supports PS1 memory cards (for PS1 game saves only) and controllers as well.

The ability to play DVD movies allowed consumers to more easily justify the PS2's relatively high price tag (in October 2000, the MSRP was $300) as it removed the need to buy an external DVD player (indeed, it could be said that the success of the DVD format was partly due to the PS2's ability to play DVDs, as the format seemed to appeal more to consumers after the console's launch). It is backwards compatible with older PlayStation (PS1) games, allows for DVD Video playback, and will play PS2 games off cheap CD-ROMs or higher-capacity DVD-ROMs. The PS2 hardware can read both compact discs and DVDs. Critically acclaimed games on the machine are the Grand Theft Auto and the ever-popular Final Fantasy (Square Enix) series, the latest two Metal Gear Solid titles, all three Devil May Cry titles, the SSX series, latest three Ace Combat titles, the Square Enix/Disney collaboration Kingdom Hearts, and first-party Sony Computer Entertainment brands such as the Gran Turismo, SOCOM, Ratchet & Clank and Jak and Daxter series, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War and the Everquest spin-offs Champions of Norrath and Champions: Return to Arms.

In several cases, Sony made exclusivity deals with publishers in order to pre-empt its competitors. Those PS2 titles helped the PS2 maintain and extend its lead in the video game console market, despite increased competition from the launches of the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. Although the launch titles for the PS2 were unimpressive in 2000, the holiday season of 2001 saw the release of several best-selling and critically acclaimed games. The PlayStation brand's strength has lead to strong third-party support for the system.

[9]. The PlayStation 2 holds the record of fastest selling video game console ever, 100 million PlayStation 2 units were shipped in only five years and nine months, shattering the previous record of nine years and six months by the PlayStation. PS2's opening day console sales eclipsed the previous record of 225,000 made by the Sega Dreamcast in 1999. To this day, the PS2 holds the record for the most consoles sold in a single day as well as the record for most consoles sold in launch day in America.

With a price of $299.99 per console, Sony made gross sales of roughly $153,000,000. When the PlayStation 2 launched in America in October 26, 2000, Sony sold 510,000 units within the first 24 hours. [8]. When the PlayStation 2 launched in Japan in March 2000, Sony sold 980,000 units over the opening weekend.

[7]. [6] Shortages in North America were also extremely severe; one retail chain in the U.S., GameStop, had just 186 PS2 and Xbox units on hand across more than 1700 stores on the day before Christmas. During one week in November, sales in the entire country of Britain totalled 6,000 units — compared to 70,000 a few weeks prior. This led to further shortages, and the issue was compounded in Britain when a Russian oil tanker became stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking a ship from China carrying PS2s bound for the UK.

After an apparent manufacturing issue caused some initial slowdown in producing the new unit, Sony reportedly underestimated demand, caused in part by shortages between the time the old units were cleared out and the new units were ready. In preparation for the launch of a new, slimmer PlayStation 2 model (SCPH-70000), Sony had stopped making the older PS2 model (SCPH-5000x) sometime during the summer of 2004 to let the distribution channel empty out stock of the units. In September of that year, in time for the launch of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (the best-selling game during the 2004 Holiday season), Sony revealed a new, smaller PS2 (see Hardware revisions). Despite this, Sony console won the total 2004 sales by 600 thousands units of difference.

Acording to NPD Group the Xbox outsold PS2 during 5 months of 2004: April, July, August, November and December. [5]. Its operating income slid to $650 million from $1 billion, losing $25 million in Q4 of 2004. During that year, game sales fell to $7.5 billion from $8.2 billion.

The heavy dependence of Sony on its Computer Entertainment division was shown when dropping PlayStation 2 sales [3] caused the parent's profits to fall 89% [4]. Hardware sales remained strong until 2004 saw the console apparently approaching saturation point, causing it to lose the top sales position for a time [2]. The Xbox Live system (with it's built in capabilities) is however the most successful of the three. As a result, although Sony and Nintendo both started out late and although both followed a decentralized model of online gaming where the responsibility is up to the developer to provide the servers, Sony's attempt was the more successful between the two.

Sony also advertised heavily, and its online model had the advantage of being supported by Electronic Arts. Sony rolled a PS2 online adapter in late 2002 to compete with Microsoft, with several online first party online titles released alongside it, such as SOCOM US Navy SEALS in order to show that Sony was supporting this feature actively. Although Sony placed little emphasis on online gaming during its first year, that changed upon the launch of the online-capable Xbox. [1].

Shortly afterwards, Sony also slashed PS2 prices greater than expected in order to maintain momentum and hold off its potential rivals. However, the release of several blockbuster games during the 2001 holiday season pushed the PS2 far in front even as the Xbox and GameCube made their impressive debuts. Many analysts predicted a close 3-way matchup between the PS2 and its soon-to-be-released competitors Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube, noting that the PS2's graphics were inferior but that it had the advantage of a head start, and had a wide assortment of games of every genre (Xbox's strength was in its hardware; GameCube was the cheapest of the 3 consoles). Later, Sony gained steam with new development kits for game developers and more PlayStations for consumers.

Another major selling point over the Dreamcast was the PlayStation 2's ability to play DVDs, which gained it a presence in electronics stores which did not formerly sell video game consoles. This allowed the PS2 to tap the large install base established by the PlayStation. Yet, the PS2 initially sold well solely on the basis of the strength of the PlayStation brand and its backwards compatibility, selling over 900,000 units in the first weekend in Japan. The PS2 launch seemed unimpressive and gaffe-prone, compared to the well-planned launch of the Sega Dreamcast, which was making a genuine attempt to woo developers and which had better launch titles.

Developers also complained that it was difficult to develop for the system, with little in the way of reference material from Sony for its exotic architecture. The PlayStation 2 was such a hot item after its release that it was near impossible to find one on retailer shelves, leaving those wanting a PlayStation 2 to either wait or purchase the console online at sites such as eBay, where the console was being sold by many people for twice and sometimes five times as much as the manufacturer's listed price. Only a few million users had obtained consoles by the end of 2000 due to manufacturing delays. .

The PS2 is part of the sixth generation era, and has become the fastest selling gaming console in history, with over 100 million units shipped by November 2005, beating the previous record holder, the PlayStation, by three years and nine months. It was released in Europe on November 24, 2000. Its development was announced in March 1999, and it was first released in Japan on March 4, 2000 and in North America and Puerto Rico on October 26, 2000. The PlayStation 2 (PS2) (Japanese: プレイステーション2) is Sony's second video game console, the successor to the PlayStation and the predecessor to the PlayStation 3.

NT$ 5,888 (November 3, 2004, SCPH-70007). NT$ 5,888 (June 1, 2004, SCPH-50007). NT$ 6,480 (January 1, 2004, SCPH-50007). NT$ 6,980 (October 10, 2003, SCPH-50007).

NT$ 6,980 (2003, SCPH-39007). NT$ 7,980 (January 1, 2003, SCPH-30007). NT$10,900 (January 24, 2002, SCPH-30007, Launch Price). JP¥17,800 (June 2004).

JP¥19,800 (November 13, 2003). JP¥25,000 (2002). JP¥29,800 (November 29, 2001). JP¥35,000 (June 29, 2001).

JP¥39,800 (March 2000, Launch Price). US$149.99 (May 11, 2004). US$179.99 (May 13, 2003). US$199.99 (May 14, 2002).

US$299.99 (October 26, 2000, Launch Price). 4.7GB capacity, a few are DVD-9 (8.5 GB). Disc Media: DVD-ROM (CD-ROM compatible) with copy protection. Interface Types: 2 proprietary PlayStation controller ports (250KHz clock for PS1 and 500KHz for PS2 controllers), 2 proprietary Memory Card slots using MagicGate encryption (250KHz for PS1 cards, up to 2MHz for PS2 cards -may be just 1MHz, please, confirmate it-), Expansion Bay (DEV9 or PCMCIA on early models) port for Network Adaptor, Modem and Hard Disk Drive, IEEE 1394 (2), Infrared remote control port (2), and 2 USB 1.1 ports with an OHCI-compatible controller.

Connection to: SPU and CD/DVD controller. Sub Bus: 32 Bit. CPU Core: Original PlayStation CPU (MIPS R3000A clocked at 33.8688 MHz or 37.5 MHz). I/O Processor

    .

    Sampling Frequency: 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz (selectable). Number of voices: 48 hardware channels of ADPCM on SPU2 plus software-mixed channels. Sound: "SPU1+SPU2" (SPU1 is actually the CPU)

      . Dedicated connection to: Main CPU and VU1.

      Maximum Polygon Rate: 75 million polygons per second (1). Pixel Configuration: RGB:Alpha:Z Buffer (24:8, 15:1 for RGB, 16, 24, or 32-bit Z buffer). DRAM Bus width: 2560-bit (composed of three independendent buses: 1024-bit write, 1024-bit read, 512-bit read/write). DRAM Bus bandwidth: 47.0GB per second.

      Graphics: "Graphics Synthesizer" clocked at 147 MHz

        . Cache Memory: Instruction: 16KB, Data: 8KB + 16 KB (ScrP). I/O Processor interconnection: Remote Procedure Call over a serial link, DMA controller for bulk transfer. Compressed Image Decoder: MPEG-2.

        3D CG Geometric Transformation: 66 million polygons per second (1). Floating Point Performance: 6.2 GFLOPS (single precission 32-bit floating point). Vector Units: VU0 and VU1 (Floating Point Multiply Accumulator × 9, Floating Point Divider × 1), 128 bit. Co-Processor: FPU (Floating Point Multiply Accumulator × 1, Floating Point Divider × 1).

        Main processor: MIPS R5900 CPU core, 64 bit. Memory Bus Bandwidth: 3.2 GB per second. System Memory: 32 MB Direct Rambus or RDRAM (note that some computers use this type of RAM). CPU: 128 bit "Emotion Engine" clocked at 294 MHz (later versions 299 MHz), 10.5 million transistors

          .

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