After more than a decade of being on sale, it seems as if Sony Interactive Entertainment is set to end the production of its PS3 console in Japan sometime soon. Although the tech giant has yet to release an announcement regarding the end of the system's life span in the country, a description on an official store page for the system's 500 GB model states that "shipments are scheduled to end soon."
For those unaware, the 500 GB model of the PS3 is its Super Slim iteration from 2012 and it is the only version of the console that's actually still in production at the moment, but it's currently unclear exactly when manufacturing of the system could cease altogether in Japan. While the console's end date could come as soon as the end of this month, there's really no telling exactly when its production cycle will cease altogether in the country until Sony divulges a date.
Typically, when the manufacturing of any gaming console wraps up in Japan, it often means that Western countries follow suit quickly thereafter, so it's quite possible that this is signalling the end of new PS3 systems being shipped on a worldwide scale. After all, when Wii U production ended in Japan just last year, the physical manufacturing of Nintendo's previous system before the Switch halted globally soon after.
Throughout the PlayStation 3's existence on the market, the console managed to move roughly 84 million units, despite being plagued by an initial slump at its inception due to ridiculously high price points. In fact, the PS3 was so expensive at the outset, even former executives at the company admitted the launch price was too high. Despite this, the device was able to become one of the highest-selling consoles in history thanks to the help of such blockbuster exclusive titles like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, LittleBigPlanet, and The Last of Us.
Once the PS3's manufacturing ends, it will do so roughly a year after its main competitor in the Xbox 360 did, as Microsoft ceased production of its last-gen console in April 2016. So, while some may lament the end of production for the PS3, it makes sense for Sony to focus its attention on its current slew of consoles on the market in order to maximize profits. After all, PlayStation fans can still game on in the current generation with a standard PlayStation 4, a PS4 Slim, or the more advanced PlayStation 4 Pro.
The PS3 is set to end production in Japan soon.