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It's been a long, successful road for Sony's PlayStation 3, but it looks like the last-gen game console's days may be numbered. According to reports, production of the mean machine will soon come to an end in Japan.
To be clear, this doesn't mean that we're going to see the PlayStation 3 disappear off of shelves anytime soon. Just because production is stopping in one region doesn't mean it will come to a halt in all regions, but it certainly foreshadows that the end is nigh for Sony's third games console.
This story comes to us via GameSpot, who picked up on a recent translation done by Gematsu. The original story reports that the official Japanese PlayStation website has added a new line of text to the PlayStation 3 page which basically states "Shipments are scheduled to end soon." Shipments coming to an end from that region can only mean one thing: Production is wrapping up.
However, it's not like the PS3 is going out early or anything. The system first launched in North America and Japan way back in 2006. Sony said the machine would have a 10-year life cycle, just like the PlayStation 2, and it wasn't lying. Now entering its 11th year on the market, the PlayStation 3 has certainly been in it for the long haul.
As the original post points out, it's not super likely that production will stop everywhere all at once. They use Brazil as an example, where the PlayStation 3 didn't finally launch until 2010. That being the case, it's likely the console will continue to have an extended life in regions where it has not been available as long, especially since some of the best games on the console didn't arrive until the second half of its life cycle. With entries from the Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, Final Fantasy series and so many more, it's no surprise that the PlayStation 3 has enjoyed a long life on the console market.
We're kind of bummed to see Japan pulling the plug but, again, these things tend to happen when a console has been available for over a decade. Keep in mind that many weren't convinced that the machine would even survive the generation. It was super expensive at launch, notoriously difficult to develop for and the library took longer than expected to get rolling. Once those classic games started pouring out on the regular, bolstered by a fantastic stream of games via the PlayStation Network, the PlayStation 3 closed the gap on the competition and became an absolutely fantastic home console.
We'll keep our eye out for production plans in other territories, but we wouldn't be surprised to see some other PS3 production lines grinding to a halt in the coming months. It's been a great ride, but now's the time for Sony to focus entirely on the future.