Sony will be ending production of the PlayStation 3 in Japan according to their official website.
According to a translation by Gematsu, the page for the console says “shipments are scheduled to end soon.” Sony has not made an official announcement that they are ending production. The console, which debuted in 2006, still has at least one major release left. Persona 5 will be launching for both PS3 and PlayStation 4 in April.
The PlayStation 3 had a hard time capturing the success of its predecessor, thanks to its hardware and price. It launched at a much higher price than the competing Xbox 360. Additionally, the Cell Processor was often criticized for being difficult to develop for. Major developers such as Valve’s Gabe Newell criticized the console early on.
Eventually, developers became more familiar and the console found its footing. The system was home to the first entries in several now-iconic franchises. Uncharted, The Last of Us, and the Souls series all started out on PS3. The turnaround also affected sales, as of 2013 the console had sold 80 million units. More recent estimates have it closer to 84 million, placing it neck and neck with the Xbox 360. The turnaround coincided with redesigns of the system at lower price points. The Slim model launched in 2009 followed by the Super Slim in 2012.
While the PlayStation 3 ended up being a success, it couldn’t match the PlayStation 2. The PS2, which was discontinued in 2013 after a 12-year run, sold over 150 million units during its lifetime. It is currently the highest selling console of all time. Sony’s recently announced the PS4 has sold over 53 million units since launch.