As 2012 comes to an end, another era draws to a close. Sony has announced it will no longer ship PlayStation 2 consoles to retailers throughout Japan. The console has been in production in the region for nearly 13 years.
The PlayStation 2 launched in Japan on March 4th, 2000, seven months before the North American release in October. At the time, its largest competitors were the Xbox, the Nintendo GameCube and the Sega Dreamcast.
Since then, more than 150 million PlayStation 2 consoles have been sold worldwide, with nearly 11,000 titles available for the platform over its lifetime. At its peak, 2004 saw more than 450 new titles released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan alone. Those numbers have dwindled over the years, however, with just six new PS2 games released in 2011, and there is reportedly just one title left for the venerable console.
With a release date of March 26th in the West and March 27th in Japan, Final Fantasy XI: Adoulin no Makyou is technically an expansion to the decade-old MMORPG Final Fantasy XI – the first to arrive on the market in six years. It brings seven new areas, eight new enemy races and two new character jobs to the game, itself expected to be overtaken by Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn when it enters closed beta testing in February 2013.
While plenty of newer models and shinier technology has arrived in the past decade, gamers and fans are still in love with the PlayStation 2 – sales figures are still showing around 800 consoles are sold per week in Japan – but, with Sony’s big announcement (first reported in Famitsu), that number is expected to fade quickly.
Once this last shipment is gone, there will be no more new PlayStation 2 consoles. Rest in peace, little games box!