Although the popular gaming console was released over ten years ago, Sony recently announced that they would finally stop production and shipment of their Playstation 3 console. The news comes via the Japanese gaming news site GamesTalk.net, which discovered, through a tweet published by Japanese video game retailer CITA Kurume, that Sony had notified retailers that shipments of the console would end shortly. Additionally, the official Japanese website for the Playstation 3 as translated by Gematsu.com, has been updated to say that “shipments are scheduled to end soon.”
Though Sony is a Japanese company, it’s unclear as of now whether Sony plans on continuing production of the console in other countries. Japan, the United States, and much of Europe typically are the first regions to receive access to the newest pieces of technology, and as a result, are typically the first regions wherein sales of consoles begin to slow down. However, in other regions such as Brazil, where the PS3 didn’t launch until 2010, sales of the PS3 and other older consoles continue to remain steady. As Sony has manufacturers in several different countries, the company may continue to produce and ship the console in other regions.
The Playstation 3, when first released, was met with a lukewarm reception by critics, fans, and developers, as the console was expensive relative to its competitors and had a limited selection of high-quality exclusive titles in its early lifetime, as developers found it difficult to make games on. Additionally, the initial release of the Playstation 3 was criticized for its large, bulky design and its tendency to overheat and produce other hardware issues. The console’s hardware featured an advanced, albeit esoteric, processor architecture which took time for programmers to learn and adapt to; however, later in the console’s life, developers were able to leverage the unique hardware environment of the Playstation 3 to create graphically-intensive and high-quality exclusive titles such as the Uncharted series and The Last of Us, developed by Naughty Dog, LittleBigPlanet, and Journey.
During its ten-year lifespan, the Playstation 3 received two hardware revisions which, while not modifying most of the core components of the console, changed its size and aesthetic appearance. In 2009, Sony released the “PS3 Slim,” featuring a smaller and redesigned body, and in 2012, Sony released an even smaller revision, referred to as the Super-Slim PS3, before the Playstation 4 was released the following year. Notably, later revisions of the Playstation 3 removed support for backwards compatibility with Sony’s previous console, the PS2, likely as a cost-saving measure. As a result, the original “fat” Playstation 3 remains a coveted device in some regions for its ability to run a wider variety of games.
According to Gamestop, Sony sold roughly 84 million Playstation 3 units worldwide, putting it in the company of its main competitor, the Xbox 360, which sold a similar number of units. These numbers are inexact, however, as neither Sony nor Microsoft release sales figures for their older consoles. Although the figure of 84 million units sold is quite impressive, it doesn’t come close to matching the sales figures of the previous Sony console, the Playstation 2, which shipped over 150 million units worldwide.
In addition to slowing down and eventually ceasing production of the console worldwide, Sony is also gradually shutting down online support for the aging Playstation 3. The last first-party title for the console was released in October last year, and third-party support for the console wound down even before then. Additionally, Sony announced that PS Now, its cloud gaming service, would no longer be accessible by PS3 consoles in August of this year. Playstation Home, the online avatar-based 3D social network service for the PS3, was discontinued in 2015. Although Sony still offers free titles for the Playstation 3 via its Playstation Plus subscription system, it’s only a matter of time before Sony ends online support for the console altogether in favor of supporting its current console, the PS4.
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