Sony: 120 million PS2s sold

Console-maker commemorates its console's seventh North American birthday by announcing one of the biggest sales milestones in game-industry history.

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Was it really seven years ago that the PlayStation 2 debuted in North America? In a word, yes. Lest anyone forget the passage of time, Sony reminded the world today that its industry-changing machine first went on sale on October 26, 2000. That same year, the PS2 went on sale in Japan in March, followed by Europe and the UK in November.

The PS2's debut overshadowed Sega's Dreamcast, which launched in 1999 in the US, and had no further competition until Nintendo responded with the GameCube and Microsoft jumped into the fray with the original Xbox. Seven years, two presidents, and two wars later, the PS2 remains the most popular console of its generation, with over 120 million units sold across the globe. By contrast, as of the end of last month, the original Xbox sold just over 24 million units, and the GameCube slightly fewer than 22 million units.

Also, whereas Microsoft and Nintendo have both ceased producing their older consoles, Sony is still manufacturing the slimline PlayStation 2. Last month, 215,000 PS2s were sold in the US, thanks to continued third-party publisher support and the continuing Guitar Hero craze. Sony sold 3.28 million PS2s worldwide during its last fiscal quarter, which ended September 30, according to its latest earnings report. By contrast, the company sold only 1.31 million PlayStation 3s.

But although it unquestionably reached a milestone, the PS2 is beginning to show its years. Sony's earnings report also showed that sales of PS2 games declined during its second quarter, slipping 9.2 million units to a still-substantial 38 million units during the quarter. The same period saw 10.3 million PS3 games sold internationally.

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