Gamestop to discontinue PlayStation 2 software sales

As a gamer, I'm pretty excited about the next generation of gaming consoles. The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and particularly the Wii are starting to feel a bit long in the tooth and I'm ready for new hardware. Sure, I want a console capable of pushing more pixels and all that, but I'm also hoping to see some reinvigoration of the gaming scene when new hardware is followed by new IPs from the big publishers.

And yet, I still found it a bit sad to read over at The Verge that Gamestop is starting to purge their stores of PlayStation 2 titles. They're doing so in order to make room for Wii U software (the Wii U is scheduled to ship sometime later this year) and in anticipation of needing room for Xbox 720 and PlayStation 3 software in 2013 and beyond.

The PS2 launched in 2000 so no one can say it hasn't had a good run. Sony says it has shipped 150 million PlayStation 2 consoles worldwide. Early PS3 units would also run physical PlayStation 2 games, but as cost-cutting measures that capability was removed in a few stages; still for a while it expanded the potential customer base for PlayStation 2 software.

Gamestop says this is something of a phased removal, depending on how much traffic their PS2 section is getting and how large a particular store is. Senior vice president of store operations Mike Dzura told The Verge:

"The PS2 is a unique one — we still generate a whole lot of profit off PS2 sales, but we're going to keep PS2 where PS2 does sell, and we won't put it in stores where we see really lapsed sales. It's somewhat demographic — it's somewhat regional, it is. The heartland of the U.S. tends to catch the wave a little bit later than the coasts to a degree. So we kinda bring it in, and we'll take it out of the stores where the shelves would be better served by next generation product, or they're just small stores where they can't fit it in."

Amazon.com still carries a decent selection of PlayStation 2 software, for now at least. I imagine they'll continue to do so for as long as supplies are available. They don't seem to carry new PS2 consoles though. Some of their partner stores do but at somewhat inflated prices.

The good news for those of us with fond memories of the PS2 is that Sony is rolling out digital versions of classic PS2 games that'll play on any PS3. These should be available, well, as long as the PS3 is a viable platform, and hopefully on the PS4 as well. The bad news is that these re-releases dribble out pretty slowly and require a re-purchase of games we may already own.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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