PlayStation 2 online functionality
|Developer||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Launch date||JP: July 2001
NA: August 2002
EU: June 2003
Select games on Sony's PlayStation 2 video game console offer online gaming or other online capabilities. Games that enable the feature provide free online play through the use of a broadband internet connection and a PlayStation 2 Network Adaptor. Since the service has no official name, it is sometimes referred as either PS2 Network Play, PS2 Network Gaming, or PS2 Online.
The service was launched in July 2001 in Japan, August 2002 in North America, and in June 2003 in Europe. On "slimline" models, a network adapter is integrated into the hardware. Some games also allow online gameplay using a dial-up connection (not available on all models), or LAN play by connecting two network adapters/slimline consoles together directly with an Ethernet cable or through the same router network.
Instead of having a unified, subscription-based online service like Xbox Live, online multiplayer on the PS2 is the responsibility of the game publisher and is run on third-party servers. Most recent PS2 online games have been developed to exclusively support broadband internet access. Xbox Live similarly required/requires a broadband internet connection.
There are currently over 80 titles online.
For the older models (non-Slim) of the PlayStation 2 console, a network adapter was needed to play online and use a hard drive. All versions of the Network Adapter provide an Ethernet port, while some North American versions also featured a phone-line port for dial-up connection. The newer slimline versions, however, have an Ethernet port built into them, making the Network Adapter unnecessary and hard drive use nearly impossible, as well as ruling out any need to keep the network adapter in production.
Playing online games requires that users set up the system's network connection configuration, which is saved to a memory card. This can be done with the network Startup Disk that came with the network adapter or using one of the many games that had the utility built into them, such as Resident Evil Outbreak, to set up the network settings. The new slimline PlayStation 2 came with a disk in the box by default. The last version of the disk was network startup disk 5.0, which was included with the newer SCPH 90004 model released in 2009. However, as of December 31, 2012, the PlayStation 2 has been discontinued, and it is unknown if the servers for the games currently active will remain active.
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs was released in August 2002. It was one of the first video games that allowed voice chat on a console.
PAL games that support online gaming carry a WITH NET PLAY banner on their cover, directly underneath the PlayStation 2 banner. North American games feature an "Online" icon in the lower right corner of the cover; on games that do not support dial-up connectivity, "broadband only" is also found on the logo.
Over time, many game servers have been shut down; because of this many games can no longer be played online. However, a computer program called XLink Kai allows users to achieve online play for some PS2 games by using a network configuration that simulates a world-wide LAN; because of this only games with LAN functionality may be played in this way.