On October 26, Sony launched the PlayStation 2 Computer Entertainment System. With a huge demand stemming from the success of the original PlayStation, thousands of gamers and dedicated parents all across America camped outside stores and braved frigid temperatures just for the chance to buy the system at midnight.
Online retailers such as Amazon.com sold their entire inventory in a mere thirty seconds, and by the end of the day, the only way to get a PS2 was to spend close to a thousand dollars on eBay. Unless you're willing to camp outside the Sony Metreon until they get a new shipment, or pay an exorbitant markup, your best chance to get a PlayStation 2 lies in Gamers.com's Gone in 60 Days Contest.
Does it live up to the hype?
Sony claims that the PS2 will be the gateway to a new world of digital entertainment with its combination of "breathtaking digital graphics, superb sound, and DVD-Video playback" while still providing backwards compatibility with Playstation 1 games. With such bold words from Sony, it's only natural to be skeptical.
Sega, Nintendo, and Microsoft all rely on the technological expertise of established PC hardware manufacturers to produce the graphics technology to meet their specification. So it is no surprise that Sony chose to play a key role in developing the silicon behind the PS2 with the assistance of Toshiba and LSI Logic.
Just how good is the PS2 hardware? Is the PS2 something I should try to get for the Winter holiday season? Originally, we wanted to answer both of these questions in a single article, but the technical discussion of the PS2 turned out to be quite long. In this article, we'll cover the design of the PlayStation2's CPU and renderer, the Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer. We will look at the PS2 as a console, examine the games, controllers, and DVD performance later. (Besides, it's not as if you can get a PS2 right now, anyway.)