1. GENERAL QUESTIONS AND NETWORK ADAPTOR
This is the list of what you'll need:
- A PlayStation 2 Network Adaptor
- A Cable or ADSL modem for broadband connection; just a phone line for narrowband connections. The Network Adaptor available in North America does include a 56k built-in analog modem.
- A PlayStation 2 Memory Card with about 150k available to install the Network Adaptor drivers and software.
- A connection to an Internet Service Provider.
- Certain games may require the Hard Disk Drive to be played.
The Network Adaptor is a peripheral required to play online games with your PS2. The adaptor has a built-in V90 modem and 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet interface for broadband connection where you can plug your ADSL or Cable modem.
The Network Adaptor was released on August 27th 2002 in North America, and retails for $39.99. In 2003, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe launched the Adaptor in Europe; the European model supports only broadband connections. It currently retails in U.K. for £29.99.
No and no. You'll need no more than a minute to install the Network Adaptor. It fits into the port on the back of your PS2, and all you need is a nickel or a common screwdriver to plug in the adaptor.
After this simple operation, you just have to install the drivers and the software (included in the package with the Adaptor) on your Memory Card.
You just have to connect the Network Adaptor to the Cable or ADSL modem you currently use with your PC.
The Adaptor comes with a built-in 56k modem. You just have to plug your phone line into the right port. If you want more information about online gaming on a normal dial-up connection, read our special feature.
Since the Network Adaptor doesn't have a USB port, this is a question we receive often from our readers. Using your USB modem to play with your PlayStation 2 is certainly possible, also with PlayOnline games and services (even if, strangely, PlayOnline website gives a negative answer to this question), but you can't connect it straightly to the USB connection on the front of the console. To connect your USB modem to the PlayStation 2, the best solution is leaving the modem connected to your PC, and then setup an Internet Connection Sharing connection between the PC and the PlayStation 2. To do this, you will need:
- USB Modem with USB device cable
- Windows 98 or higher installed on your PC
- 1 available Ethernet Card on your PC
- One Cat5 twisted pair straight cable
If you don't have an Ethernet card on your PC, you can purchase one for a few dollars. Once you have everything, setting up an ICS connection is easy. First of all, you must have your USB modem properly installed and configured on your PC. Now, enable Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) on your PC - if you are not exactly an expert PC user, detailed directions to install ICS can be found on Microsoft's official website. Now connect your PlayStation 2 to your computer, plugging one end of the Cat5 cable into the PC's Ethernet Card, and the other end into the PlayStation 2's Ethernet port. Activate the connection on your PC, then insert the Network Adaptor startup disk onto your PlayStation 2 and simply configure your PlayStation 2 for a broadband connection.
The Network Adaptor includes software to connect to the most popular Internet service providers. And if yours is not included in the list, you will simply have to configure the software to connect to your provider. It's easy as 1-2-3. Anyhow, keep in mind that if you have problems with your Internet Service Provider even when browsing the Internet on your PC, you will have the same problems with your PS2. The quality of the service offered by your local provider is essential for a great online gaming experience. If you are choosing a new ISP, it might be a good idea to give them a call and ask if their services are compatible with PlayStation 2 online games. It might be even better to find some third party review of the ISP services.
This is the most common question we receive in our mailbox. Not at all. The Network Adaptor costs $39.99 and in general, there are no fees to play most of the online games available for PlayStation 2. Popular games like SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals, SOCOM II, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, Madden NFL 2004 are playable for free.
So far, it seems that only Massive Multiplayer Online Games like Final Fantasy XI or Everquest will need a monthly fee to be played, fees necessary to maintain the powerful servers required to run these games. Check the "Online Games" section in this page for up-to-date fees.
An additional cost to play online games derives from the Hard Disk Drive (HDD), which became available in March 2004 in North America at a suggested retail price of $99.
Finally, you have to add the cost of your Internet Service Provider, but you should already be paying for this.
2. HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and other peripherals
The HDD became available in March 2004 in North America, at a suggested retail price of $99.
First of all, the box released on March 23rd, 2004 includes obviously the Hard Disk Drive, with a capacity of 40GB, a set of simple installation and troubleshooting manuals, an utility disk, a box containing the Final Fantasy XI disk, the PlayOnline and Tetra Master disk, and a beautiful manual of 144 pages to guide you through your first steps into PlayOnline, Final Fantasy XI, and Tetra Master. Final Fantasy XI comes with the first 30 days of gameplay free.
To play certain games, yes. For example, Final Fantasy XI requires the HDD. Other games, playable without the HDD, can have additional features for players with a HDD. Many games will give the player the chance to download add-ons, patches, and expansions like new levels, character models or cars, while others may use the HDD to drastically reduce loading times by installing the game files into the HDD.
Yes, of course. A HDD with the Network Adaptor went on sale in Japan on July 19th 2001. The peripheral was released in two versions, external and internal, and the price was definitely high: 18,000 yen, about 143 USD.
The official PlayStation 2 keyboard and mouse are included into the "Linux Kit", a kit for players who want to program using their PlayStation 2. Logitech and Datel produce keyboards designed specifically for the PlayStation 2. Anyhow, usually, any common USB keyboard and mouse should be fine to play PlayStation 2 games supporting these peripherals. For example, we currently play EverQuest Online Adventures and Final Fantasy XI using an incredibly cheap, anonymous USB keyboard. Keyboard languages can be set in the system setup screen of the PlayStation 2 or, usually, within the options screen of the game you want to play with your keyboard.
The compatible headsets are the Logitech USB PS2 Headset included in SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals box, the new Logitech USB PS2 Headset available from October 2003, Labtech USB 711, Labtech USB 712, and the Datel USB PS2 Headset.
3. ONLINE GAMES
This is the list of the games so far announced for North America:
Fight Club (Vivendi Universal, available now)
Godzilla: Save the Earth (Atari, available now)
Mortal Kombat: Deception (Midway, available now)
Monster Hunter (Capcom, available now)
Resident Evil Outbreak (Capcom, available now)
Resident Evil Outbreak: File #2 (Capcom, available now)
Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain (SCEA, available now)
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (SCEA, available now)
SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals (SCEA, available now)
SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs (SCEA, available now)
Star Wars Battlefront (LucasArts, available now)
The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King (EA, available now)
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect (EA, available now)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (Ubisoft, available now)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Ubisoft, March 2005)
Twisted Metal: Black Online (SCEA, available now)
Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior (THQ, available now)
Action - First Person Shooters
25 to Life (Eidos, available now)
Area 51 (Midway, available now)
Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (EA, available now)
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill (Ubisoft, available now)
Call of Duty: Finest Hour (Activision, available now)
Full Spectrum Warrior (THQ, available now)
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (EA, available now)
KillZone (SCEA, available now)
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (EA, available now)
Project Snowblind (Eidos, available now)
Robotech: Invasion (Gathering, available now)
Serious Sam: Next Encounter (Globalstar, available now)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (Ubisoft, available now)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Lockdown (Ubisoft, March 2005)
Tribes: Aerial Assault (Sierra, available now)
XIII (Ubisoft, available now)
Final Fantasy XI (Square-Enix, available now) - comes pre-installed in the HDD
Everquest Online Adventures (SOE, available now)
EverQuest Online Adventures: Frontiers (SOE, available now)
Automodellista (Capcom, available now)
ATV Offroad Fury 2 (SCEA, available now)
ATV Offroad Fury 3 (SCEA, available now)
Burnout 3 (EA, available now)
Colin McRae Rally 2005 (Codemasters, available now)
Crash 'N' Burn (Eidos, available now)
Destruction Derby Arenas (Gathering, available now)
FlatOut (Bugbear, June 2005)
Ghost Recon 2 (Ubisoft, available now)
Midnight Club II (Rockstar Games, available now)
Midnight Club III: DUB Edition (Rockstar Games, available now)
MTX: Mototrax (Activision, available now)
Nascar Thunder 2004 (EA, available now)
Need For Speed Underground (EA, available now)
TOCA Race Driver 2: The Ultimate Racing Simulator (Codemasters, available now)
Champions of Norrath (SOE, available now)
Champions: Return to Arms (SOE, available now)
All-Star Baseball 2004 (Acclaim, available now)
All-Star Baseball 2005 (Acclaim, available now)
ESPN NBA Basketball (Sega, available now)
ESPN College Hoops (Sega, available now)
ESPN NFL Football (Sega, available now)
ESPN NHL Hockey (Sega, available now)
Fight Night 2004 (EA, available now)
Fight Night 2 (EA, available now)
FIFA Soccer 2004 (EA, available now)
FIFA Soccer 2005 (EA, available now)
Gretzky NHL 2005 (SCEA, available now)
Hot Shots Golf FORE! (SCEA, available now)
Hot Weels: Stunt Truck Challenge (THQ, available now)
Madden NFL 2003 (EA, available now)
Madden NFL 2004 (EA, available now)
MLB 2006 (SCEA, available now)
MVP Baseball 2004 (EA, available now)
NASCAR 2005 (EA, available now)
NBA 2K3 (Sega, available now)
NBA Live 2003 (EA, available now)
NBA Live 2004 (EA, available now)
NBA Live 2005 (EA, available now)
NBA ShootOut 2004 (SCEA, available now)
NBA Street V3 (EA, available now)
NCAA College Basketball 2K3 (Sega, available now)
NCAA Final Four 2004 (SCEA, available now)
NCAA Football 2004 (EA, available now)
NCAA Football 2005 (EA, available now)
NCAA March Madness 2004 (EA, available now)
NCAA March Madness 2005 (EA, available now)
NCAA GameBreaker 2004 (SCEA, available now)
Need for Speed: Underground (EA, available now)
Need for Speed: Underground 2 (EA, available now)
NCAA March Madness (EA, available now)
NFL Blitz Pro (Midway Sports, available now)
NFL 2K3 (Sega, available now)
NFL GameDay 2003 (SCEA, available now)
NFL GameDay 2004 (SCEA, available now)
NFL Sreet (EA, available now)
NFL Sreet 2 (EA, available now)
NHL 2004 (EA, available now)
NHL 2005 (EA, available now)
NHL Hitz Pro (Midway Sports, available now)
Outlaw Golf 2 (Globalstar, available now)
SSX 3 (EA, October 2003)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 (EA, available now)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (EA, available now)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Activision, available now)
Tony Hawk's Underground (Activision, available now)
World Championship Pool 2004 (Jaleco, available now)
Amplitude (SCEA, available now)
Chessmaster (SCEA, available now)
Deer Hunter (Atari, available now)
My Street (SCEA, available now)
Risk: Global Domination (Atari, available now)
The Sims Bustin' Out (EA, available now)
Trivial Pursuit Unhinged (Atari, available now)
World Championship Poker (Crave Entertainment, available now)
Until December 2002, you just had to mail the card included in the package of the Network Adaptor to get a free copy of the game. Unfortunately, the offer has now expired. Anyhow, according to the last call we had with SCEA Pr office, the game might be re-released soon. Stay tuned on our website for more info.
As mentioned above, you can play most PlayStation 2 online games for free, without paying monthly fees. The only games that require a fee to be played are EverQuest: Online Adventures and Final Fantasy XI (scheduled for a March 2004 release), both MMORPGs. This kind of games requires a huge, constant work for servers maintenance and customer support - and the cost of this daily work can't be covered by the game's retail price alone.
The first 30-days are free, but you still need a credit card to register before starting the game. If you decide to stop playing the game after the first month, the credit card will not be billed. If you want to continue your online adventures, you must pay a $9.99 monthly fee.
The game was released in March 2004 in North America, pre-installed into the Hard Disk Drive, at an overall retail price of $99. The Hard Disk Drive package also includes a copy of the game, in case gamers remove the pre-installed version and decide to reinstall it back at a later date. Sadly, no release dates have been announced yet for Europe.
No, since the game requires the Hard Disk Drive.
The first 30-days are free, then you have to pay the following fees:
- Monthly subscription fee (includes one character): $12.95
- Additional character: $1.00 per month
- Tetra Master online: $1.00 per month
For example, if you create an additional character, you will pay a monthly fee of ($12.95+$1.00)=$13.95. Tetra Master online is the online version of the mini-game included in Final Fantasy IX. A Visa or Mastercard credit card is required to pay the fees.