The Sony PlayStation 3 didn’t exactly have the easiest start to life. Not only did the console launch almost an entire year after its closest rival, the Xbox 360, but its launch price was also $500 and $600 depending on which hard-drive size people bought. This severely hampered the console’s sales as many people decided to opt for the Microsoft-made competitor instead, as the Xbox 360 was around $100 cheaper.
The PS3 has made plenty of strides since then, however, as price cuts, bundles, and new versions of the console (such as the PS3 slim and the PS3 Super Slim) having made the PS3 more affordable. Gamers have also been enticed by the console’s roster of stellar exclusive titles, such as the Uncharted series, The Last of Us,Heavy Rain, and the Gran Turismo racing franchise. These factors have helped the PS3 ship over 80 million units globally, as of November 2013.
Although the PS3 is no longer the jewel in Sony’s crown, as it has been replaced by the current-gen PS4 console, the last generation box still managed to move over 3 million units during 2014. That figure is nothing to be sniffed at, which is why it was so surprising when rumors popped up about the PS3 being discontinued in New Zealand. Many PlayStation fans began to fear that it was the beginning of the end.
In a statement, Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand (SCENZ) confirmed that the reports were true and that the company would stop shipping the PS3 to New Zealand retailers. Instead, these retailers will just sell their current stock of PS3s until they run out and after that, would-be PS3 buyers will have to look outside of the country to get one. However, SCENZ states that PS3 peripherals will still be released in the country along with “great new releases” and “back catalogue software” so at least New Zealand’s PS3 owners will still be catered to in some way.
On the one hand, this is disappointing for those in New Zealand who had plans to take advantage of the PS3’s cheap price and use it as an entry point for gaming, or for the PlayStation brand. But on the other hand, Sony most likely sees the discontinuation as perfect business sense. The PS4 has been selling at an unprecedented pace all over the globe, but particularly in New Zealand where the PS4 became the fastest selling console of the decade, and the country’s console market has also grown by 92%, of which the PS4 accounts for 46% of that.
It’s also important to note that there is no other suggestion that Sony will suddenly start discontinuing the PS3 in any other regions. The company didn’t discontinue the PS2 until 2013 (13 years after launch) and so with the PS3 still selling quite well in most places (in Japan it outsells both the Nintendo 3DS and the Xbox One) Sony will be looking to keep the console alive for as long as possible.