Pictured: The PlayStation 2 console first went on sale in 2000, while the PS4 is set to be officially announced in mid-2013.
Sony has ended Japanese production of its best-selling PlayStation 2 (PS2). The hardware first went on sale in March 2000 in Japan and since then more than 150 million PS2 consoles have been sold.
The PS2 was so popular that it outsold its replacement for the first three years that the PlayStation 3 was available. By ending production, Sony has fuelled rumours it is putting manufacturing resources towards the PlayStation 4. Although Sony is ending production in Japan this does not mean no more games will be produced for the PS2.
For instance, another instalment of the Final Fantasy series, called Seekers of Adoulin, is due to be released in March 2013. In total, about 11,000 games are believed to have been made for the gadget over its 12-year lifespan. Japanese gaming and entertainment site Famitsu reported that Sony has told the nation's retailers that it will not provide any more PS2s for sales in shops. Once existing stock is sold no more will be forthcoming. Sony has yet to say whether it will stop production for other territories as well.
The PS2 is credited with being the best-selling game console of all time and its wide use is also thought to have aided the popularity of DVDs as a drive for the disks was built in to the machine. Despite rumours that Sony will make announcements about the PS4 in mid-2013, the firm has not given any official details of the specifications of the hardware nor when it might be released.