After nearly 13 years at the top of the market, tech industry giant Sony (NYSE: SNE) is officially putting its historic Playstation 2 (PS2) video game console out to pasture.
According to a new report from the Japanese tech publication Famitsu, Sony has stopped production of the PS2 in the Tokyo-based company’s home country. Once the existing stock of consoles is sold, no more PS2s will be forthcoming. Despite halting production of future PS2 units, however, Sony will continue to develop upcoming games that are expected to come out for the console in 2013.
The Playstation 2 first went on sale in March 2000 in Japan and won over many prospective gamers worldwide since then. The PS2 went on to sell more than 150 million consoles globally.
The console, along with its immediate predecessor, the original Playstation, became something of an industry standard for pared-down, efficient design. Its Dualshock controller is credited with winning out against Nintendo’s (PINK: NTDOY) awkward shape for the next generation of consoles, leading companies like Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and younger rivals like Ouya to adopt its symmetrical shape.
Following the PS2’s success, however, Sony has struggled to maintain its position atop the global video game market. The PS2 was so acclaimed that it actually outsold its successor, the Playstation 3 (PS3), for the first three years that it was on the market.
Halting production so close to the end of the life-cycle of the big three current-generation consoles -- the PS3, Xbox 360, and original Nintendo Wii, which has already been replaced with the Wii U -- Sony has given more weight to rumors that it reallocating manufacturing resources to the Playstation 4. Along with Microsoft’s next-generation console, the PS4 is widely assumed to come out some time next year. Sony has been very tight-lipped about its release, however, and a shift in manufacturing resources would suggest that the console has already passed through its research and development phase and is ready for large-scale production.
Sony has not revealed whether or not it plans stop production for other regions as well.
Shares in the company rose around one percent in trading Monday, reaching $11.12 in late morning trading.