Everything comes to an end, and that's even true for the PlayStation 3. The last man standing out of the major three contenders in the seventh console generation, production of this mighty console will soon end. Thanks to information from Hachima Kikou via an update on Sony's PlayStation 3 listing, we know that discontinuation of the console is likely imminent.
A major combatant in the seventh generation "console wars", the PlayStation 3 has outlasted its rivals, with the Wii bowing out October 19th, 2013, and the last Xbox 360 popping off the production line April 20th, 2016. A fierce rival of Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's console will have the last laugh, having sold a million more units over a similar lifespan.
The PlayStation 3 was a landmark console for Sony in many ways. It was the first of the PlayStation line to have truly integrated internet access and online services, and it pushed forwards alongside with its peers to redefine console gaming for an entirely new generation. Despite an initially brutal pasting by critics, placing 8th in PC World's Top 21 Tech Screwups of 2006 and top of Gamespot's Top 7 PR Disasters, a series of hardware successions helped the brand get its groove back. The PlayStation 3's hardware also became common in the construction of supercomputers. In 2010, the United States Air Force Research Laboratory used a combination of 1,760 PlayStation 3's to create, at the time, the world's 33rd most powerful supercomputer.
While the lifespan of the PlayStation 3 is not particularly remarkable amongst its siblings (the PS2 remained active in retail for thirteen years), the decision to end its lifespan must have been a tough pill to swallow for Sony, especially in their home region of Japan. Thanks to a delayed launch, adoption of the PlayStation 4 has been slow. Although it has so far managed to match the PS3 in terms of sales of consoles and games across a similar time period, the Japanese market for home consoles has slowed considerably. During this last decade, Japan has become the largest market in the world for mobile gaming, and 2014 saw mobile gaming in Japan peak at a value of $5.8 billion - over half of the overall $9.6 billion coming from gaming as a whole. And as ever in Japan, handheld gaming continues to dominate the traditional home console market.
Despite this, production of games for the PlayStation 3 continued unabated in Japanese markets and abroad, with premium triple-A titles being released on the PS3 until well into 2016.
Production of the PlayStation 3 has only been previously discontinued in New Zealand, back in November of 2015. At this time, there is no concrete information on when exactly production of the console will be coming to an end, but it's likely that the ten-year-old console will be unlikely to see its eleventh birthday.