The Top Ten Most Influential Video Game Consoles of All Time

The Top Ten Most Influential Video Game Consoles of All Time

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 21st Dec 2011

(7) Sony -- Sony PlayStation 2
(6th Gen October 2000)

The most obvious contribution that the PS2 made from the start was, of course, its built-in DVD drive and its subtle but important influence that recast the video game console as an entertainment go-to device. The notion that in addition to providing video game fun, the PS2 could also function as a source for more traditional entertainment is a significant contribution, to be sure, but what would you say if we pointed out that it also blazed the trail for Ethernet-connected online gaming and the MMORPG?

When Square Enix released Final Fantasy XI to Japan and later to North America, the game came with a 40GB hard drive that, connected to the Ethernet adapter for the PS2, was absolutely necessary for playing the new MMO!

The PS2 is still considered by Sony to be a viable platform, and with over 10K game titles, and over 150 million units out there, we cannot fault them for taking that position. In spite of the fact that its Next Gen big brother the PS3 is supposed to be the market leader on that side of the pond, new games are released for the PS2 every year and it still maintains a loyal following of fanboy's in its own right.

Among its more dubious contributions to the industry are its experimentation with live encryption that was used to partially lock down the system to third-party developers and peripheral makers -- this familiar approach today was largely unheard of prior to the implementation of MagicGate Encryption on the console, but Sony was not serious enough about the process to truly lock down the console. You want to see serious, look at Apple... But it was serious enough to promote the idea that console makers have a proprietary right to control what gets used -- and played -- on their hardware, and contributed the notion that as consumers we are really paying for the license to use the hardware we bought, and nto the hardware itself.

The use of a broadband internet connection and the PlayStation 2 Network Adapter took console gaming in the same direction that PC gaming was headed, and up until Sony made the commitment the idea that a game console could have that level of functionality and serve as the go-to device of online gaming? Well, it was an idea that other console makers had flirted with -- can you say Dreamcast? -- but it was not until the PS2 and the proliferation of broadband 'Net access that the flirting became a full-blown romance!

The unique contribution to online gaming on the PS2 was its lack of structure -- while the subscription-based unified and hosted online gaming experience that is PSN and Xbox LIVE were coming, the PS2 introduced a wile and wooly online that lacked structure, leaving the game studios and publishers responsible for creating and maintaining the structure required for that sort of gaming -- running their own servers (which many still do today) -- but at the same time offering gamers a taste of things to come.

Though these may well be considered minor contributions, we can also thank the PS2 for a console video camera, wireless media remote, and dedicated peripherals specific to given games. Arguably the most significant contribution that the PlayStation 2 made to the home gaming industry was shocking Microsoft into entering the industry -- as it is fair to say that the PS2 is largely responsible for the development of the original Xbox, and logically, the Xbox 360!