End of an era as Sony halts production of PlayStation 2 games console

2 Jan 2013

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Electronics giant Sony has halted production of its iconic and breakthrough games console PlayStation 2 – the best-selling games console of all time – and a device that raised the bar and set the standard for the quality of console gaming we enjoy today. The move has sparked rumours that Sony is to begin production of PlayStation 4.

More than 150m PlayStation 2 consoles have been manufactured since the machine went on sale in March 2000.

At one point there were more PlayStation 2 consoles sold in Ireland per capita than Sony’s native Japan.

It continued to sell strongly even after the launch of its successor PlayStation 3, outselling the PlayStation 3 for the first three years of its availability.

In November, Sony revealed that some 70m PlayStation 3 machines were sold since the third-generation Sony games console went on sale in March 2009, bringing it level with Microsoft’s rival Xbox 360 console.

It is understood, however, that some publishers intend to continue to produce games for the popular console. For example, the next instalment in the Final Fantasy series – Seekers of Adoulin – due to be released in March, will be compatible with the PlayStation 2.

The fourth-generation PlayStation’s arrival is imminent

The decision to halt production of the PlayStation 2 has sparked fresh speculation that Sony is preparing to begin production of its fourth-generation console, the PlayStation 4.

In November, specifications for a new developer kit from Sony called Orbis were leaked and appeared to confirm Sony is moving away from the Cell architecture developed with Toshiba and IBM to an AMD-based chip.

The move is believed to signal a new era of gaming capability – we’ll call it console commerce for now – whereby gamers can download and buy content mid-game.

The Orbis kit is also said to have a Blu-ray drive, 256GB storage as standard, variants with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, and the same input and output as the PlayStation 3.

It is predicted that the PlayStation 4 will be announced ahead of the E3 expo in June this year.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com