The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It is the successor to PlayStation 2, and is part of the PlayStation brand of consoles. It was first released on November 11, 2006, in Japan, November 17, 2006, in North America, and March 23, 2007, in Europe and Australia. The PlayStation 3 mainly competes against consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles.
The console was first officially announced at E3 2005, and was released at the end of 2006. It was the first console to use Blu-ray Disc as its primary storage medium. The console was the first PlayStation to integrate social gaming services, including being the first to introduce Sony's social gaming service, PlayStation Network, and its remote connectivity with PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita, being able to remote control the console from the devices. In September 2009, the Slim model of the PlayStation 3 was released. It no longer provided the hardware ability to run PS2 games. It was lighter and thinner than the original version, and featured a redesigned logo and marketing design, as well as a minor start-up change in software. A Super Slim variation was then released in late 2012, further refining and redesigning the console.
The system had a slow start in the market but managed to recover, particularly after the introduction of the Slim model. As of March 2016, PlayStation 3 has sold 85 million units worldwide, putting it about on par with Xbox 360, but behind the Wii. Its successor, the PlayStation 4, was released later in November 2013. On September 29, 2015, Sony confirmed that sales of the PlayStation 3 were to be discontinued in New Zealand, but the system remains in production in other markets. In March 2017, the official site for PlayStation 3 in Japan was updated to state that it would be discontinued soon. The PlayStation 3 will be discontinued in Japan at an unknown date in 2017