Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Talking Point
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Wednesday, 29 November, 2000, 10:42 GMT
Playstation 2: The best so far?

Friday sees the launch of the Playstation 2 (PS2), with 165,000 consoles on sale in the UK.

When Sony first launched PS2 in Japan it sold 3.5m units in just seven months. And the launch weekend in the US saw 500,000 consoles being sold.

Yet the UK Consumers Association says the console is being sold at an over-inflated price in the UK. In the US the PS2 will cost 199 compared to the UK where it costs 299.

Do you own a PS2? Has it been worth the money and the wait? Is the PS2 a world-beater in console games?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

The profits far outweigh the development costs

Jim Button, UK
Why bother moaning about the price of the consoles when the games companies are ripping us off? The profits far outweigh the development costs so we should do something about that first.
Jim Button, UK

I don't know what you guys are buying in the UK but here in the USA Madden 2001 is probably the most amazing game I have ever seen. Fifa is also amazing.
Steve Glean, USA

Once again, the general public are doing their sheep routine and all falling for PS2 because Sony says it'll change the world and give a new gaming experience. Bad news guys, the gameplay is just the same, it might just look better. And if it's gameplay you're after, everyone seems to have overlooked the Sega Dreamcast, which real gamers will know has the strongest line up this Christmas, is the same generation as the PS2, is readily available, cheaper, and has internet access out of the box.
James, UK

Stop complaining

Samm, Australia
Stop complaining, we will have to pay $749 for it. I'll get one in about 6 months, when the fuss dies down.
Samm, Australia

I think that the Playstation 2 is awfull and so was the original. Sony don't have a clue how to make a games console. Sega and Nintendo don't even seem to get a mention these days and they are the experts and have been doing it for years. They have their own quality in-house development teams that make some of the best games around.
Matthew Blackmore, UK

Considering I grew up with a ZX Spectrum 48K, my PS1 impresses! When Sony get the price right, I may well get a PS2. Until then I'll enjoy the wider range of cheaper PS1 games!
Mark, UK

PS2 with DVD, don't forget the SSX issue and no SCART leads. X-Box? NTSC/US? The answer to these problems is simple:

1. Go out
2. Meet people - who knows, you might even meet a girl?
3. Speak English
4. Get a life
Victor Houghton, UK

The PS2 is currently a damp squib

Ian Harvey, UK
I have a PS2 and having played four of the launch games, I can say that the games have a way to go yet. My Dreamcast certainly has better games at the moment. In 6 months time the reverse may be true but the PS2 is currently a damp squib.
Ian Harvey, UK

What is really interesting is that the ratio of men to women contributing to this discussion is 36 to 1.
Gill, UK

The PS2 would be a good buy if you need a DVD player and a games console except for one thing: The DVD section will only work over the RF lead, not SCAR, thus destroying the clarity of the image. This is probably down to Sony spending so much time defeating the region coding hack on DVDs. If, like me, you already have a separate DVD player, then the PS2 just becomes a VERY expensive games machine.
Chris B, UK

Sony has the best line-up of software houses

Raymond, Netherlands
At the end of the day, it actually doesn't really matter how fast your game system is, it's all about the people who create the games. I'm not interested in a new Ridge Racer that only looks smarter, I want new exciting groundbreaking games instead of makeovers, and I think that Sony has the best line-up of software houses to do just that.
Raymond, Netherlands

Playstation? Give me a game of scrabble around a table any day.
Matt C, UK

What is Playstation 2?
Chris Klein, UK

Having purchased both a NTSC/J and NTSC/UC Playstation2, (Japanese and American), I am impressed with what the Playstation can handle. I own almost 25 games for both models and so far have only had one game give me problems with displaying the graphics. (Anyone from the States, Nascar 2001's graphics are very poor when playing two player or using the rear view mirror setting). As for the rest of the machines including the Dreamcast, I purchased them when they were introduced and now all they do is gather dust. Why bother waiting for the next console whether it be the X-Box or the Cube - I'll be in line for that too.
Marc Young, USA

If you want the best, you gotta pay for the best

Matthew Aylen, UK
The PS2 is worth the wait. SSX is probably the smoothest game I have ever seen. True, the cost is high but if you want the best, you gotta pay for the best.
Matthew Aylen, UK

I have ordered my PS2 and am still waiting for it to arrive. I hope that the wait is worth it and agree that the PS2 is not expensive because when Playstation was first released it cost 300. If you think about it, it is really cheap because this time you get a DVD Player built into the console.
Mark C, UK

It's games console for goodness sake. Get a life!
Phil, UK

Having grown up with the 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit PC and console systems, I am not easily impressed these days. However, on receiving my PS2 last Friday, I can safely say that Sony has developed a killer console. The launch games are no way near pushing the machine limits, the nearest is SSX. I have not seen anything better or playable on ANY system as of YET - I rest my case!
Cy B, UK

If you wait long enough, something bigger and better will always appear

Chatan, UK
I think anyone that says that they are going to wait until console X or console Y hasn't grasped the point. If you wait long enough, eventually something bigger and will always appear. Sony have the best system. X-Box is at least 6 months away, and as for Nintendo I haven't got a clue. If you want the best in gaming but don't want to spend 1K+, then a P2 is the way to go.
Chatan, UK

I have just acquired the PS2 and it has been worth the wait. So far there are only three games worth buying now (Fantavison, Silent Scope & SSX) and two next year (GT3 & Wipeout). The rest are either new versions of old games that don't do the PS2 justice OR are simply badly designed. The DVD playback is excellent.
Paul Jonas, UK

Where are the brilliant groundbreaking games promised at launch, Sony?

Nick M, England
It's ok, but where are the brilliant groundbreaking games promised at launch, Sony?
Nick m, England

I'll be honest - I work for Sony...but can I just clarify a piece of misinformation? $299 does not equate to 199. At today's exchange rate the actual price difference is 87.

However, this is the difference when you compare the US RRP with the UK RRP. This isn't a fair comparison because it isn't comparing like with like. The US price excludes tax - so a US consumer will pay more than their RRP, the UK price includes our VAT figure. To make a fair comparison, you should take 17.5% from our RRP - so our price exclusive of tax is 246.67. So the difference in real terms is 33.33.

This isn't ideal - we want it to be as cheap as possible - but this is the lowest price we could achieve. The reason there is this difference is that our units cost more (Pal graphics chip made specifically for our market) and our units cost more to ship from Japan. But like nearly everything else in this country it also costs more than the US because it costs more to do business here - fuel costs are greater, real estate is more expensive, so our warehousing costs are more etc.
David, UK

I received my PS2 yesterday but currently have no games for it. This is because I felt there were no stand-out titles, although I will be getting SSX Snowboarding. It has the raw power and all the major software developers behind it but won't really come alive until internet access is available and the 'big' games get released. However, I don't feel that the price is too high. Remember when Playstation was originally released in 1995? It cost 300! Plus, with the PS2 you get a DVD player, internet access, the best graphics around and DTS (digital theatre sound).
claire wall, UK

Whilst my Flatmate does have a PS2 coming in today I think I am more likely to stick with my PC for gaming. It is more powerful, more flexible, has a better net connection and a wider variety on control interfaces. Not to mention the simple fact that the games are currently much better.
Neil, UK

Equivalent PC? What kind of PC can you get for 300?

Simon, UK
Equivalent PC? What kind of PC can you get for 300? More importantly how long before the PC needs upgrading to play the latest games?
Simon, UK

Consoles have a place, you open the lid, put in a game, close the lid and it works. The Playstation does this very well. You don't have to resolve any hardware conflicts or download drivers

Richard S, UK
I hope based on Andrews comments it doesn't become a discussion for Playstation bashers. Consoles have a place, you open the lid, put in a game, close the lid and it works. The Playstation does this very well. You don't have to resolve any hardware conflicts or download drivers.
The Playstation 2 looks set to follow but I like many others seem to have held back because of the base cost and game quality. When Sony lowers the price and the games designers get to grips with the architecture then I for one will be buying a Playstation 2 for many happy hours of gaming.
Richard S, UK

According to a BBC news story, 24/11/00, (and a whole host of other write ups) the Playstation 2 is by far the most powerful games system available. Can the author, or anyone else, explain on what basis this decision is based? (I am sure there's more to it than polygons per second). The Dreamcast is 128 bit, uses 1Gb discs, has a 16MB main memory, an 8Mb video memory and can handle 30 sounds at once (apparently). Its also half the price and for the spare 150 pounds you could buy a higher quality (dedicated) DVD player. It also has a built in 33Kbps modem, offering the cheapest way to get online. People are sheep though aren't they...
Matt, UK

No TT - Andrew is not misinformed. 66 Million polygons per second is nothing compared to what PC's are capable of. The 1970s technology you refer to has long since been overhauled with new hardware standards. ISA in the early 80's, EISA in the early nineties (MCA if IBM had their way), then PCI and now a separate dedicated "BUS" for graphics know as AGP.
Chris B, UK in Netherlands

I'm afraid "Andrew, United Kingdom" is a bit of a pooper. The PS2 architecture is far more advanced (and way more complicated) than he would have you believe, and once developers learn how to maximise the set-up, PS2 games are going to surprise. Also, the PS2 here in the US offers good DVD playback, equalling mid-priced standalone DVD players.
Rob, USA

TT doesn't know what he's talking about, PS2's theoretical maximum is just 18 million polygons and it'll take a lot of work to get half of that. Dreamcast can manage 5 million and PC cards are available today that can draw as many triangles as PS2 but with far better quality.
Glenn, UK

Having just played for an hour I can say that this console is capable of changing the world of Home Entertainment, as we know it

Rich Greaves, UK
I've just picked up my PS2. I've waited 18 months for this day. Having just played for an hour I can say that this console is capable of changing the world of Home Entertainment, as we know it. People can knock it but I am one of societies 'early adopters' so I've had the experience of buying products that don't live up to their claims. To put it simply this is the Dyson Vacuum cleaner of the Games Consoles. Quality costs, just how much do you want that quality?
Rich Greaves, UK

I'm sure that the PS2 will eventually become a good seller but at the moment due the dire games currently on the market I'd wait until next year. However you can never discount the might of Microsoft, the X-box will have far more power and a built in hard drive.
Tim Welch, England

As a happy owner of the original Playstation, I was originally intending to buy a PS2, but having seen a demo of some of the games being developed for Microsoft's X-Box, I'm going to wait for that instead. I understand it is about 3 times more powerful than the PS2, and just know that if I bought a PS2, I'd end up having to buy an X-Box as well when it's released!
Couple that with Sony's arrogant and inflexible marketing style and apparent disdain for the consumer, and the PS2 looks like a non-starter.
Dave, UK

I have pre-ordered a PS2 and am eagerly waiting to receive it. I believe it is overpriced however a friend of mine who has it in the States says that its got amazing graphics, its fast and the DVD works perfectly fine if all you want to do is watch the DVD.
Manny, UK

I was interested in buying a PS2. But having to pre-order months in advance when you can't even see the hardware running put me off

Grant Stone, England
I was interested in buying a PS2. But having to pre-order months in advance when you can't even see the hardware running put me off. Instead, I go an Apple iBook. It plays DVDs on my TV (and they look perfect), games are as good as a high end PC, can play Playstation 1 games (via an emulator). It's friendlier than a Windows PC, but I can still use it for word processing, email, etc. There's no way I'll be buying a PS2 now.
Grant Stone, England

Sony have made the same arrogant error with the PS2 that Nintendo made with the N64, in that they've developed an extremely expensive and overly complex console so they can have bragging rights over machine specs. Like the N64, the PS2 will frustrate developers and never reach it's full potential because a simpler and cheaper machine will pull the rug out from under their feet, like Nintendo's GameCube, or dare I say it, Sega's ailing Dreamcast, which has the best line-up this Christmas by far.
Sney Noorani, UK

I've seen some comments here comparing PC's and the PS2, whilst it is true that the PS2 can't compete with a brand new top spec PC, they're only asking 300 for the console, to buy a PC that could compete would cost about 800 with a top end PC being 2,500. It seems to me that these comparisons are a bit unfair. If I had a spare 300 I'd think about buying one.
Ian Clarke, UK

Sony has produced a remarkable machine, but the problem lies in the fact that it has tried to be too remarkable. Overall I'm glad things aren't all peachy at the Sony camp, and hopefully this is the time for Nintendo and Microsoft to work hard on their next generations.
J Brewin, United Kingdom

Playability and the quality of the games is far more important than what's inside the box

Ed Vista, UK
Playability and the quality of the games is far more important than what's inside the box. Give the Playstation 2 a year or so and you'll get a good idea of what the machine is capable of, but for now, ignore all the hype. If the box is so advanced and revolutionary as it's made out to be, the initial games are destined o be pretty bad. Why? They're programmed by humans, whose brains and ideas are - unfortunately - the weak link as far as games ideas go.
Ed Vista, UK

As a DVD player and high performance games console combined, the PS2 will become a good package. However, it will only realise its full potential when online gaming is possible. Also, the launch games, with the exception of Timesplitter and arguably FantaVision, are largely disappointing in terms of look and playability. Best wait until you can buy it off the shelf - cheaper, and with a selection of better games.
John Kirriemuir, Glasgow, Scotland

Just who is the PS2 aiming at? It is overpriced for a toy, its DVD player capabilities are poor, as a next-generation console it's technology is over complicated to develop for. Leaving what? Initially, Sony is selling on the strength of PS1. It will take between 6-12 months for ground-breaking software to be which time Nintendo will have released Gamecube. Then it's time for REAL game players to spend their money!
Jimbob, The Netherlands

As a total entertainment system, it can't be beaten

Steve Mac, UK
As a total entertainment system, it can't be beaten (DVD, games console, CD player). But as someone has pointed out already, PCs are far more advanced in their games and the first PS2 games do look a tad uninspired. That said it is a lot more accessible than a PC, and the controllers of the PS are far more user friendly than that of rival games consoles. Once the programmers have worked out all they can get of the system I expect the games to be unbelievably good. I imagine that this console will out live the current PS lifespan by several years.
Steve Mac, UK

I was going to buy a PS2 - but decided against it when I heard of the dreadful pre-order scheme. Coupled to the fact that none of the games are very inspiring, the DVD player isn't up to the standard of most budget stand-alone players, and there's a much better alternative around (in the form of Sega's Dreamcast). I think I'll be steering clear until the price drops, or some game worth playing comes out exclusively on the machine.
Tim Miller, England

I have heard that the DVD aspect does not compare with a dedicated DVD. I am sure it will eventually support brilliant games but the word from the wise has got to be wait 6 months and then you will truly know what you are buying....
Mick O'Donnell, England

My reason for buying, well the games are now at a level of maturity to warrant my interest and I have 4 children

Mark, Germany (UK citizen)
I'm one of those unfortunates who has ordered one for Christmas shelling out a deposit and I have no guarantee of getting it. But I suppose I'll wait. My reason for buying, well the games are now at a level of maturity to warrant my interest and I have 4 children. I hope though that we get some decent accessories such as keyboard and it would be nice to get some nice software and then I can bin my PC as being too slow.
Mark, Germany (UK citizen)

I am afraid that Andrew is a bit misinformed. The Playstation 2 console uses custom graphics chips and can render around 66 million polygons a second - that's around 20 times what Dreamcast can manage and far in excess of the humble PC which is hindered by the architectural design originated by IBM in the 1970's. A 1GHz processor is not always faster than one with a slower clock speed because it depends on how it's linked and what it's linked to.

This console is pathetic when compared to a modern PC equivalent. They took so long to release the hardware in this country that the PC has gone miles ahead. This console is not worth the plastic it's cased in. Over-priced, no software, no peripherals and a poorly organised launch. Ridiculous!
Andrew, United Kingdom

The current games look unremarkable

Andrew Massey, England
I won't be buying a PS2 until late next year. By that time, the machine should cost a bit less and, crucially, the games will be a LOT better once the programmers have had a few months to get to grips with the hardware. The current games look unremarkable.
Andrew Massey, England

I have just about every gadget known to man, but don't have a Playstation of any description. The reason? I simply can't abide those god-forsaken hand controls. Everything is the wrong way round - I want to use a joystick, not wear the skin off my thumbs trying to figure out these things. I want to be able to choose which hand I use rather than having it decided for me. I also don't want to be shafted by someone who expects me to shell out 35+ for each and every game.
John B, UK

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

24 Nov 00 | Business
Playstation 2 sweeps into Europe
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Talking Point stories