Before leaving Sony after nearly 30 years of working for the company, now-former Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan oversaw another round of mass layoffs and conducted a kind of public exit interview as a guest on the Official PlayStation Podcast. While Ryan discussed several fascinating topics during that interview, one of the most notable takeaways from the discussion involves a seemingly simple statement regarding the lifetime sales of the PlayStation 2.

When asked about his memories of the 2000s, Ryan stated that the “high watermark” of that era is “160 million” which he claims is the number of PlayStation 2s that Sony sold during that console’s historic run. That’s an impressive number made all the more impressive by the fact it’s even higher than the PS2’s previously reported lifetime sales figures.

The last time Sony published an extensive report about the lifetime sales of their major gaming devices, they stated that the PlayStation 2 had sold 155 million units as of March 31, 2012. That cutoff date is pretty important since Sony didn’t stop globally manufacturing the PS2 until January 2013. The implication of Ryan’s statements is that the PS2 sold about 5 million more units after that March 31st date. Given that the PS2 reportedly sold almost 7 million units in 2011 (a stunning number given the age of the device), that may be a reasonable estimate.

However, this situation is slightly more complicated than that. There has actually always been a bit of a debate over how many units the PlayStation 2 actually sold during its lifetime. While it was known that the previously reported 155 million units figure couldn’t be entirely accurate given that the PS2 wasn’t discontinued until the following year, analysts were left to estimate what the actual final number was. Many of those estimates put the final figure somewhere just below or just above that 160 million number that Ryan shared.

What makes that discrepancy particularly interesting in this instance is what we’ll call the “Nintendo factor.” See, even at 155 million units sold, the PlayStation 2 remains the best-selling video game console ever. However, the second-best-selling video game console ever (the Nintendo DS) reportedly sold 154.02 million units in its lifetime. The DS was officially discontinued in 2014, so it’s likely that number remains fairly accurate.

Even still, the difference between the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo DS’ lifetime sales was often considered to be too close for comfort for analysts and record keepers everywhere. That’s to say nothing of the Nintendo Switch, which is nearing 140 million lifetime unit sales as of earlier this year. It’s unlikely that the Switch would surpass either device at this point, but again, the gap is surprisingly close, especially if Nintendo continues to support the Switch into the Switch 2 era.

So what’s the real story here? Was Ryan rounding up those sales figures to a clean higher number as executives often like to do? Alternatively, was he actually rounding down the PlayStation 2’s lifetime sales figures to avoid saying an awkward number like “160.08 million” during a casual interview? We’re not exactly talking about a huge difference either way, but the difference feels slightly greater when you consider that the “Best Selling Video Game Console Ever” could soon be on the line.

In any case, “160 million” is probably the closest we’ll get to an official updated report on the PlayStation 2’s lifetime sales. That is, of course, unless the Switch starts to creep even closer to that figure and Sony can set the record straight in their favor. Hey, the console wars may not be quite what they once were, but as Jim Ryan showed on his way out the door, that doesn’t mean that these companies aren’t still thinking about their legacies.

The post The Mystery Of The PS2’s Lifetime Sales May Have Just Been Solved appeared first on Den of Geek.

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