After earlier unconfirmed reports that Sony had ended production of the PlayStation 2 – the most successful games console of all time – the Japanese consumer electronics giant has now officially confirmed this to be true.
After 12 years and more than 150 million units sold worldwide, production of the PlayStation 2 has ended worldwide.
The PS2 has enjoyed phenomenal success since first release in 2000 and even outsold its predecessor, the PlayStation 3, in its initial three years since release in 2006.
By 2011, over 10,000 games were available for the PS2, with 1.52 billion individual games sold. In the early-2000s, the PS2 thrashed the competition, beating others like the Nintendo GameCube and Sega Dreamcast on performance, calibre of game titles and design. The inclusion of a DVD player meant that, for the first time, a games console functioned as a wider entertainment device and became omnipresent in many living rooms and homes.
Sony’s current console, the PlayStation 3, has not enjoyed such acclaim. Ill-timing of its release that allowed Microsoft to achieve a crucial one-year head start, developer difficulties, and increased competition – including most recently from gaming on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets – has meant that Sony has sold only 70 million PS3s to date – less than half the number of units of PS2s sold.
With development of the PS2 ceased, inevitable but credible rumours are now emerging that the company is readying manufacturing resources for its forthcoming entertainment console, the PlayStation 4.
Sony is expected to announce the PS4 at E3 2013 this summer, although some are speculating (however unlikely) that the company may have something to share on this as early as next month. Microsoft is expected to announce its next generation console (which we’ll call the Xbox 720 for now) at E3 also.
With an announcement before the end of summer, we could see the PS4 being released in time for Christmas 2013, or spring 2014. The Xbox 720 is also rumoured to have a pre-Christmas 2013 release date.
Whatever happens, both the PS4 and the Xbox 720 will likely be the last we’ll see of long life-cycle dedicated games consoles.