Sony seems to be culling another one of its systems by ending production of the 500GB PS3 in Japan; the last variant of the system that was still being actively produced. This marks the end of an eleven-year production cycle for the PS3 system.
Sony had initially announced that production on the 500GB PS3 would be coming to an end back in March of this year, and it appears they’re making good on their promise.
The announcement came via the Official Japanese Playstation Website by listing shipment as “complete” for the 500GB PS3. This quiet end comes after reports from other countries of problems procuring new PS3 systems for retailers, with most models being unavailable for upwards of a year.
Sony has been focusing most of its attention on the continued success of the PS4. There's little demand for new PS3 systems in the retail market since the newest systems release aside from Japan, where the system still consistently sells 300-500 units per week. The system has sold upwards of 80 million units worldwide since it’s initial release in 2006, with 10 million of those systems being sold in Japan alone.
The quiet discontinuation of the beloved system seems juxtaposed to their usual style, given the company’s history of botched console announcements in the past. The fact that new 500GB console production was still being carried out by Sony may come as more of a shock to some then the production being officially ended, with sales numbers pretty minuscule outside of Japan. Still, the end of the PS3’s production is the end of an era for Sony. The PS3 was the company’s third most successful console after the Playstation 2 and original Playstation. Although it seems like a natural move given Sony’s focus on the future of their most recent system and its VR peripherals, the lack of communication between Sony and its consumer base could be seen as par for the course given their poor communication practices with their fans in the past. Regardless, the PS3 was one of the most successful home video game consoles of all time as it competed with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii.