(Pocket-lint) - The PlayStation 2 was a game-changer, and that's an indisputable fact.

At the time it launched, consoles were a more niche pursuit than they are today, and it was really Sony's second-generation console that helped turn that around.

After 12 years of loyal service, it hung up its optical media in 2012 and got to spend more time with its family in Japan.

The PS2 was originally released on 4 March 2000 in Japan. The US release was in October with a European launch in November of that year and the release schedule alone shows you how much times have changed.

Would anyone wait eight months for a console to make its way from Japan to Europe in the era of the internet?

The PS2 retired having sold over 157 million units, way more than the original's 104 million and the PS3's 87 million.

Sony said in July 2019 that the PS4 has sold over 100 million units so far and that it has also been faster to the 100 million mark than the PS2 and other consoles that have passed that landmark such as the Nintendo Wii. 

Helping DVD along

At the time it was discontinued the PS2 has a back catalogue of nearly 11,000 titles.

Amazingly, Sony said in 2012 that 1.5 billion games have been sold for the PS2 in its history. The best selling PS2 game was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which shifted a massive 17.33 million copies - even to this day, that's an impressive number.

And of course, the PS2 helped DVD along its way too, offering playback of the then immature video format. Something that Sony tried - and pretty much failed - to achieve with Blu-ray on the PS3. And that's before we get onto the failure of Ultra HD Blu-ray

But, as sad as its passing is, we have to spare a moment here for Dan Holmes who changed his name, via deed poll, to Mr PlayStation 2. What of him now? 

Writing by Ian Morris and Dan Grabham.