Sony execs wanted to release the PS3 without a GPU
The original plan for the PlayStation 3 was to release it without a GPU.
The grand plan was that Sony's potent Cell processor would handle game, system and graphics processing all at the same time. It slowly dawned on Sony that this just wouldn't work so they teamed up with NVidia to power the PS3's visuals.
An insider said, "For a while, [PS3 had] no GPU, it was going to run everything with Cell's SPUs. The ICE [Initiative For A Common Engine] team proved to Japan that it was just impossible. It would be ridiculous. Performance-wise, it would be a disaster. That's why they finally added the GPU, closer to the end."
"I think that the hardware guys focused too much on getting the Cell working that the GPU project [for PlayStation 3] ultimately fell behind," added the anonymous source.
There has been no similar issue on the PS4 with it being powered by an extremely powerful APU which combines an AMD CPU and GPU on one die.