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RIP PlayStation 2: Sony halts production of the most successful game console in history

On Dec. 28, we reported that after 13 years, Sony’s PlayStation 2 will finally end its historic run, and conclude production after becoming the the world’s best selling home gaming console. Sony announced via Famitsu magazine that it would halt production of the PlayStation 2 in Japan for starters. At the time it appeared that Sony would simply start with Japan and slowly wind down PlayStation 2 manufacturing as the console still enjoys brisk business in countries like India and Brazil where it’s only been available for the past five years. Not so: Sony confirmed on Friday that has halted PS2 production worldwide.

Between its release in March 2000 and the end of 2012, Sony’s second console handily outsold every other home video game console ever made with 153.68 million machines sold. Some of the most famous consoles in history didn’t even come close to that record. Nintendo sold just under 62 million Nintendo Entertainment System consoles between 1983 and 1995 when it stopped production of the machine in North America. Nintendo’s home console business over the past decade truly demonstrates how successful the PlayStation 2 was on a global scale. Nintendo’s last two consoles, the 2001 Gamecube and the 2006 Nintendo Wii, have sold approximately 122 million consoles combined.

The home console to come closest to the PlayStation 2 was its predecessor. The original PlayStation saw over 102 million consoles sold during its twelve-year production cycle starting in 1994.

Sony is expected to announce an unnamed fourth generation PlayStation—whose codenames have reportedly included PlayStation 4, Orbis, and Thebes—sometime before the end of the year. Since the PlayStation 3 is entering its seventh year on shelves, the PlayStation 2’s end is coming right on time according to the original PlayStation’s lifecycle.

Still, it’s surprising that Sony would end the PlayStation 2 when there are still sales to be had. The PlayStation 2 slim model was only released in India and Russia in 2008. The console was released for the very first time in Brazil in 2009. Even now a number of developers continue to produce PlayStation 2 games. Not just regional developers either. Major publishers including 2K Games, Konami, and Electronic Arts have all published sports titles for the PlayStation 2 in the past twelve months.

Sony does need to trim costs somewhere, though, and shutting down production of an ancient console, no matter how successful, will help in that regard as the fiscal year nears its March finish.

Here’s to you, PlayStation 2.

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