PS3 Was Originally Planned For 2005, Would Have Been “A Disaster”

Microsoft had almost a year as the only new generation console before Sony’s PS3 released in 2006, so there was little competition at the 360’s launch. If Sony had stuck to their original plan however, we could have seen a different tale entirely.

According to IGN, “multiple sources” have confirmed that the console was delayed from a 2005 release, with Jak X – the racing game put together by Naughty Dog – intended as a stopgap, after the “entire [PS3] system was delayed by a year” according to one source, and that might not have existed if the PS3 had released as intended, with Naughty Dog instead moving focus to their PS3 project, codenamed Project Big.

A further source confirmed that this project evolved into Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, which was in development alongside Jak, though was put aside to focus on the racer while the PS2 was the only option for release. That’s why the writer of Uncharted was involved with the last PS2 Jak game, it seems, and it all starts to make sense now.

As for the PS3 system itself, it appeared to be quite the mess at first:

“For a while, [there was] no GPU, it was going to run everything with SPUs. The ICE 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.”

It would be a disaster.

Yet another source describes how Sony were “still trying to figure out the hardware” and backed up the lack of GPU claims, highlighting these as the reason for the delay. This delay might’ve come quite late into production, but it was likely still before the reveal at E3 2005.

The ultimate downfall of the system? Sony’s focus on the CELL-powered architecture, according to another source: “I think that the hardware guys focused too much on getting the CELL working that the GPU project ultimately fell behind.”

It’s an interesting tale for sure, even eight years later, and raises questions about how different things would be if Sony had launched the PS3 in 2005 when it wasn’t quite ready – would we be seeing games that are as good as Beyond: Two Souls and The Last Of Us, visually? I highly doubt it, and in the end it all worked out for Sony, with PS4 on the horizon – and releasing at the same time as the Xbox One – showing how they’ve learned from past mistakes.

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14 Comments

  1. Read this yesterday, a very interesting read and could of been worrying if they had rushed the PS3, luckily due to the delay we have amazing games to play now :)

  2. “This delay might’ve came late into release” – That should be come not came :)

    • That whole sentence is messed up, no idea what I did there!

  3. I do remember some early talk about the PS3 ‘not needing’ a gpu and that the CELL/spus would do everything. If they didn’t change that attitude we’d probably be halfway through the PS4’s lifecycle by now.

    • I remember reading that it was specified to feature dual cell processors which could have been feasible but I doubt it would have the gfx capability it has with the GPU instead (even though the GPU was under-powered for its time).

  4. Guess that’s what happens when your hardware team starts to believe in it’s own hype just a little too much….

    PS3 would have also benifited from extra Ram, as both it and PS2 did’nt really have enough on-board to do system justice at times.

    PS3 was also delayed by having Blu-ray though was it not? they needed to let stocks of the drives build up etc etc.

    If you read say Gamestm from era of when UK was waiting for PS3 launch, they talk of the exclusives Sony lost as publishers got fed up of waiting for PS3 so either put games out on 360 1st or dropped them from PS3.

    Think the steamroller sales of PS2 must have made Sony far too over-confident, if they thought Cell alone was going to be enough to power PS3.

    PS2 might have had more raw power than it’s rival the Dreamcast, but man did it suffer early on from poor texture quality.I owned (and still do) both machines and so many titles look richer, more vibrant, less jaggies on DC than the ‘more powerful’ PS2.

  5. “Microsoft had almost a year as the only new generation console before Sony’s PS3 released in 2006”
    Not meaning to nit-pick but wasn’t the 360 released in November and PS3 4 months later in March?

    • It was released in the US on the 11th of November 2006 in Japan, the 17th of November 2006 in the US and the 23rd of March 2007 in Europe.

      The Xbox 360 was released on the 22nd of November 2005.

      • Really? Damn that time flew by, lol! :|

  6. Ii seems the XBOX One could do with coming out a year later. Microsoft could learn from this.

  7. Thank God for Mark Cerny this time ’round.

  8. The ps3 wasnt that great even with the year delay. If it had come out and sooner i feel like it would have been like the Sega Saturn in terms of longevity. That would have been a serious mistake on Sony’s part.

  9. At least Sony had the balls to delay it. Microsoft pushed on regardless and ended up with the RROD.

  10. Wow. Never heard that before. It reminds me a little bit of the Saturn development process, where they added additional processors late in the game with similar challenges for developers. The launch of PS3 was definitely the peak of Sony’s hubris. I’m glad they lived through it and got things more or less right this time.

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