I own an Xbox. The center where I volunteer has a PS2 for folks to play while waiting for the phone to ring, so I’ve put in some hours on it. So, having some experience with both, here’s my humble opinion.
The PS2 has a much wider game selection. However, in my experience, many of them are the same fighting/shooting/RPG game done over and over with new graphics. I’m not very interested in the style of games that seem to be coming from Japan these days, and right now such games seem to rule the PS2. Also, I don’t like the controller; it feels too small to me, and I find it too easy to hit the wrong top-button. The PS2 has some truly great and fun games, and if there’s something you just gotta play that’s only on PS2, it’s not a bad choice.
The Xbox controller feels much nicer in my hands. I find it much more “playable.” Also, I like the long cords and the breakaway connectors. There aren’t as many games, but you know, I don’t really need all that many, just a few fun ones that I can replay, and anything else, I can rent. I also find the basic console interface more, shall we say, approachable than the PS2’s. It’s also mighty nice to have that hard drive to save your games to, and to save your own music to.
I played the PS2 before I got the Xbox. My thought process was this: the PS2 is mighty good, but there aren’t any games on it that I must have. Also, the PS2’s hardware is a shade older and slower than the Xbox’s, and while that doesn’t matter much now, it probably will in the near future. Before the Xbox, I had an N64, and you can really see the difference between the earliest games and the games that came out near the end of the console’s life, when the hardware was being pushed to the max. I figure the same will hold true for the PS2 and the Xbox.
So, that’s my opinion. Hope you found it useful.