It’s been a long time coming – close to thirteen years, in fact – but Sony is finally starting to put its beloved second generation PlayStation 2 out to pasture. This week, the company announced that it would end production of the console in its home country of Japan; there was no word on whether production was ending in the rest of the PS2’s territories – but that announcement is unlikely to be too far behind.
The PlayStation 2 is one of the most successful products in history, outsold by only such enduring items like the Rubik’s Cube. As of a few months ago, Sony had managed sales of more than 155 million units. It has come a long way since its early 2000 launch, with multiple iterations as components became cheaper and cheaper (thanks to sheer economies of scale). It’s something we’ve seen played out in other consoles, too – the PlayStation 3 was reborn with a slim version (without backwards compatbility) not too long ago, Microsoft’s Xbox360 scored a redesign, and Nintendo jumped in with the recent release of the Wii Mini.
This news comes soon after the release of Nintendo’s next-generation console, the WiiU. The WiiU is widely believed to be less than twice as powerful as current competitors; Microsoft’s Xbox360 successor, due out late next year, is thought to at least double the WiiU’s numbers. Sony is expected to announce the PlayStation 4 no earlier than the middle of next year for an early 2014 release.