Sony PlayStation 2 Launches in North America

The successor to the PlayStation arrives in North America amid shortages and unprecedented demand.

The highly anticipated Sony PlayStation 2 has launched for a suggested retail price of US$299.99. With only 500,000 units available in its first shipment, the console sold out at most retail outlets across North America by early this morning. To commemorate the launch and to give their customers first access to the console, several retailers opened their doors at 12:01 a.m. The PlayStation store at the Metreon in San Francisco had a large turnout, with more than 300 people--some camping out since early Wednesday morning. At midnight, Sony ushered in the PlayStation 2 era with a countdown. Surprisingly, despite the grave shortage and the fact that most of the people looking to buy a PlayStation 2 were turned away at virtually every retailer, the launch came off without any significant glitches.

"Just as the PlayStation game console appealed to a mass-market audience, driving the growth of the interactive entertainment category to unprecedented levels, the PlayStation 2 will create a new market for the next level of entertainment experience in the home," commented Kaz Hirai, president and chief operating officer for Sony Computer Entertainment America. "The incredible success of the PlayStation 2 launch will firmly establish Sony Computer Entertainment America as the driving force behind computer entertainment."

Even before the PlayStation 2 went on sale today, several retailers were reporting strong sales of PS2 software, the first of which became available over a week ago. Consumers have been stocking up on such games as Madden NFL 2001 and Tekken Tag Tournament, which are already among the top sellers for the week ending October 21. According to PC Data, Madden NFL 2001 was fifth on the top 10 video game sales charts for that week, and Namco's Tekken Tag Tournament was eighth. Overall, the PlayStation 2 software earned an 11 percent market share during that week.

"Retail outlets reported today that they were sold out of PS2 consoles by 9 a.m. this morning," said Matt Gravett, game analyst for PC Data. "It's a definite measure of the hysteria around the PS2 that people are willing to buy software with no guarantee that they'll have hardware to play it. They're all revved up with no place to go."

The PlayStation 2 is in such high demand that Amazon.com sold out of all three of its PS2 bundles in a matter of minutes. Sony expects to ship 100,000 units a week through Christmas, for a total of 1.3 million units by the end of the holiday season. However, the console is expected to remain in short supply for several more weeks, as the demand seems to have far outpaced supply.

For more on the PlayStation 2 launch, watch our on-site coverage at the Metreon in San Francisco on GameSpot Live.

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Discussion

15 comments
PSGamerforlife
PSGamerforlife

Its been more than 12 years now since the PS2 launched in NA. And more than 17 years since the PS1 launched in NA...nearly 18 counting the Japan launch. Damn, Has time and eras gone fast...

FamousCalibur
FamousCalibur

ps2 got me into gaming, period.(emphasis on the .)

GOAT_DUDE
GOAT_DUDE

PS2 MADE ME LOVE VIDEO GAMES. THANX SONY YOU DESERVED THIS.

agentzero23
agentzero23

Still nine years and counting Truly a great console

kidzion1
kidzion1

GOOD TIMES REMEBERING WHEN IT FIRST CAME OUT CRAZY PEOPLE GOING AFTER THE NEXT BIG THING THE PS2 SONY'S GREATEST GAMING CONSOLE

fluffers623
fluffers623

wow.... 7 years later. gratz sony, u deserved it... i cant blv on christmas on 00'... that box.... so good.. *orgasm*

rene55
rene55

i was 14 when it was released and i was super excited to hopefully have my mom get one.. but she didnt on day one.. i was sad but understood that they were super difficult to find so it wasnt as crushing. then christmas came around i opened a few gifts and my parents told me i had one more gift in my room.. shocked as hell and super excited since i knew it couldnt be true.. no.. could it really be?? and sure enough on my bed was that dark shade blue box laying on my bed. i have never been so excited for any gift like i was with that one. i personally couldnt believe it and the fact that my WHOLE entire family knew my mom purchased one for me back in nov. and i had ZERO clue about it was pretty amazing. but yea, thats one day ill never forget till i get old and grey.. so badass.

e-racer22
e-racer22

What really made the PS2 great is its awesome collection of software. God of War, FF XII, DQ8, Bully, Kingdom Heats, Colossus, GTA, etc,. etc. etc. In my opinion, they really could have held out for another couple of years. Maybe this time around we really will get a ten-year console ... that is if SCE doesn't collapse under the debt of the PS3.

best_gameralive
best_gameralive

those were the days i still remember when i brought mines home and gamespot had uploaded this article and along with video reiews of other hot games