Sony stops making original PS

With the PS3 launch looming, Japanese electronics giant shuts down production of the console that brought it to the industry in the first place.

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Sony entered the global gaming industry with the Japanese release of the original PlayStation in December of 1994. More than 11 years and two more consoles later, the electronics giant has pulled the plug on its first console, ceasing all production of PS units. Last September, Sony announced that the original PlayStation and its PSOne redesign had surpassed the 100 million units sold milestone.

Despite the news, Sony representatives noted today that the end of production does not necessarily mean the end of availability. PS hardware and software are still selling in countries around the world.

Even if original PlayStation systems and games are becoming slim pickings in the US, gamers likely won't be going without for long. As part of its PlayStation Business Briefing 2006, Sony last week announced that it is working on an emulator that would allow gamers to play PS titles on the PSP. Details haven't been released yet, but Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi said the games would be digitally distributed.

While the PlayStation's decade-plus production run is certainly impressive, it isn't the longest life span for a gaming console. Atari released its Video Computer System (more popularly known as the Atari 2600) in 1977 and didn't officially pull the plug on it until 1991.

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