The next PlayStation and Xbox might not be expected until at least next year, but the Wii U's impending launch later this year marks the beginning of the long-awaited end of this generation of consoles. It's hard to believe it, but it's been seven long years since the Xbox 360 kicked this generation off, with the PS3 and Wii following a year later in 2006. So here we are, in 2012, with the eighth generation of consoles on the horizon. It's an exciting time, and one many gamers have been looking forward to for a few years now. With over 150 million sold, the PS2 was and remains the uncontended champ—its crown has yet to be nabbed by Nintendo's Wii or DS, or any other gaming console—but unfortunately for Sony, for a multitude of reasons, they weren't able to recapture that magic with the PS3.
Nintendo finds itself in a similar position as they desperately try to push their Wii U, a console that's been struggling with a bit of an identity crisis. One of the many reasons the PS2 was so insanely successful was its massive collection of games, which included Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, Gran Turismo 4, Final Fantasy X, and God of War 1 and 2. It managed the impressive feat of catering to the casual gamers as well as the "hardcore," without making a big deal of it.
When it came to the hardware, it was top of the line, and because the controller hadn't changed since the original PlayStation, gamers didn't have to learn their way around a new iteration. It helped that this controller was arguably better than the GameCube's bizarrely organized layout and the Xbox's controller, which was seemingly designed for people with huge hands. The DualShock was the clear winner.
Sony made an excellent move when they decided to keep the DualShock with the PS3 (let's just forget about the quickly scrapped Boomerang concept and all that SixAxis nonsense). Unfortunately, while the PS2 was a fairly cheap console with a fantastic arsenal of some of the best video games available, Sony thought it'd be best to trash those good ideas in favor of an insanely expensive launch price ($599!), no rumble on the controller, and some of the most spine-tingling commercials I've ever seen. Seriously, that crying baby commercial will stick with me until the end of my days. The PS3 has since dropped to a more manageable price tag, but asking gamers who wished to adopt it early to pay so much definitely created some bad blood between Sony and their fans.
The PS2 had, and still has, one of the best game libraries of all the time. Whatever you're into, it has something for you. Looking for one of those weird Japanese sex games? The PS2 totally has that. Or maybe you'd rather hide in a box so you can leap out in front of a soldier and pump him full of lead? You can do that too.
Still, the exclusive game library is an area where the PS3 has really excelled. When it comes to exclusives, Sony might even be ahead of Microsoft and Nintendo, both in the number of exclusives and their quality. You have Killzone, InFAMOUS, LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted, Resistance, and the aforementioned God of War, Metal Gear Solid, and Gran Turismo. This is one area where the PS3 has really grown, potentially overshadowing the PS2.