Sony’s PlayStation 3 might be discontinued by the end of the year. Japanese website Crunchyroll reported Monday that the company was shutting down production in Japan for the console. According to the report, the availability for the console, which has had a 10-year run in the country, now shows “shipments are scheduled to conclude soon.”
While the non-availability of the console in one territory does not mean total discontinuation, the company has discontinued previous iterations of the consoles such as the PS2 in a similar fashion. The PS3 was a stalwart of its time since the console sold much more than its main rival, the Xbox.
The reason for this could be that Sony might be restricting the life cycles for its consoles — the PS2 had a 10-year life cycle. Another reason could be that many game manufacturers have switched to making games for PlayStation 4, which is more compatible with technologies such as Blu-ray.
With sales of the PS4 increasing, Sony might consider March 2017 as a safe time to discontinue the PS3 and prepare for the next PlayStation – the PS5.
The company is also prepping up its virtual reality headset. It launched the PlayStation virtual reality headset, the PSVR, in 2016, along with the PlayStation Pro, which is superior to the PS4 in terms of specs.
Read: PSVR vs. Vive vs. Oculus
The company already has many offerings in the market including the PS4, PS Pro, PS Vita, PSVR and PlayStation TV, and cutting down on PS3 could help it optimize production levels. Moreover, the company recently announced the PlayStation Now streaming service for its consoles. The service would allow players to play around 483 PS3 games as a rental using a PS4 or a PC. This means that though the PS3 might soon become a legacy console, players will not need to use emulators to experience PS3 games again.