According to Japanese tech publication Famitsu, Sony Computer Entertainment of Japan announced this week that they are discontinuing the PlayStation 2, with no new shipments going to retailers in its home nation.
The announcement comes after a storied 13-year run for the system, during which the console sold over 150 million units, helping the Playstation 2 become the best selling home console of all time. Released in 2000, the system outsold and outlasted its generation of competitors, which included the Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo's GameCube and Sega's short lived Dreamcast.
According to Nielsen, the PlayStation 2 was still the most popular gaming console in 2008 despite new generations of systems being released. Since then sales have declined as less games have been released for the outdated system, a process expedited by Sony shifting much of its focus to the PlayStation 3 after its release in 2006. Even with the newer, more technologically advanced model on shelves, the PlayStation 2 managed to outsell the PlayStation 3 in the first three years following its release.
The system's popularity was bolstered by an affordable $299 price point at launch, along with a built in DVD player and backwards compatibility, meaning it was capable of playing the entire PlayStation 1 library. This strong library led to 1.52 billion games sold for the system since launch with exclusive titles such as "Shadow of the Colossus" and longrunning series like "Final Fantasy", "Gran Turismo" and "God of War." The system is capable of playing over 10,000 titles.
Over the years Sony made only a few tweaks to the system including the release of a "slim" model in 2004 and lowering the price to $100 in 2009, which aided its prolonged popularity.
While there's no word on what will happen to the PlayStation 2 in markets outside of Japan, including the U.S., the writing appears to be on the wall with this news and rumors swirling on the release of the PlayStation 4 in 2013.