On October 26, 2000, Sony launched the PlayStation 2 in the US, and changed video games forever. Sony proved it could make a good video game console with the PlayStation, but the PlayStation 2 proved it could make the hardware that defines a generation. It was a system that could play all your old PlayStation games, slightly improved an already excellent controller, played DVDs, and would see the release of genre defining games such as Grand Theft Auto III, Prince of Persia, and Silent Hill 2.
Now, after 18 years, Sony has stopped servicing the PlayStation 2 in Japan. Sony stopped making the consoles back in 2012, but by then, it sold more than 150 million consoles, so Sony continued to repair the console for customers willing to ship them back.
But there are still millions of PlayStation 2s out there in the wild, and with so many amazing games on the system, people will be playing them for years. This highlights the need for fair right-to-repair legislation in America, where stickers tell customers that repairing electronics themselves or turning them over to a third party repair store will void their warranty.
In May, the FTC told companies such as Sony to stop the practice. The warranties on PS2s are long expired, but for years the little sticker on the back prevented the timid from opening up their own systems or turning them over to repair stores for fear of losing the ability to deal with Sony if they needed to ship the console off for repairs.
Customers are now on their own if they want to keep playing their PlayStations—by actively discouraging people from repairing their own consoles, Sony has left many gamers beholden to its repair service, which has now ended.
Independent repair stores still service the machines, and gamers everywhere still boot them up to play Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, God of War, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. There’s also a wealth of unofficial online resources like forums to help people with broken machines do the repairs themselves.
Sony’s PlayStation 2 was the first console I bought with my own money, the first one I waited in line for, and the first one that broke down and had to be repaired. I huddled outside of a Target in the middle of the night to secure one of the systems, all so I could play Kessen and DOA2: Hardcore.
A few years after I bought it, like many first run systems, the console began to give me a disc read error and I had to send the system in to Sony for repairs. If that happened to a PlayStation 2 owner today, there only choice would be to learn to repair it themselves or find someone who could.