DF Weekly: are the latest Switch 2 and PS5 Pro leaks actually plausible?

Welcome to DF Direct Weekly!

Welcome to the very latest edition of DF Direct Weekly – Digital Foundry’s regular, scheduled show discussing the latest in gaming and technology news. In an all-too-predictable scenario, we completed filming on this one several hours before the latest PlayStation 5 Pro rumours emerged, but we’re looking into those as I write this. For this week’s show, our focus is on the latest trailer for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, its associated custom PlayStation 5 console, along with the first of what is likely to be many Switch 2 fakes. This one isn’t particularly compelling, but I thought it might be interesting to share our current thoughts on what we think is real and what is certainly not.

PS5 Pro Rumours

First up, let’s quickly discuss the PS5 Pro rumours we couldn’t include in the Direct. I do think the ‘Project Trinity’ story is at least somewhat credible. Most of the hardware leaks that emerge are more wish-fulfilment as opposed to genuinely workable products. The mooted Viola APU for the PS5 Pro apparently has 60 compute units, possibly with four disabled. This would only constitute four more CUs than Xbox Series X, so in terms of a key area of expense – the main processor – it seems affordable. Moving to a likely 5nm production process also means that the APU could run at higher clock speeds. A circa 10.2TF of GPU compute in PS5 Pro rises to circa 18.6TF, assuming 56 CUs running at around 2.6GHz, up from the 2.2GHz in PS5. Notionally, that would rise to 37.3TF with RDNA 3’s dual-issue FP32 functionality (though do not that its real world use in gaming has proven limited thus far).

The Switch 2 ‘Leak’

The Switch 2 ‘leak’ last week showed an unfeasibly large display, standard Switch controllers in an unconvincing mount and a decidedly non-Nintendo user interface. What was palpable was the complete lack of imagination though. And that’s the thing. At this point, we have a fairly solid understand of what Switch 2 will actually be. We are totally convinced that it’ll be powered by a new Nvidia SoC, likely the T239 first mentioned by the most reliable leaker of them all – kopite7kimi. Expect eight ARM A78 CPU cores, a likely 128-bit memory interface and an Ampere-class GPU with CUDA core counts in the 1536-2048 range, along with one or two custom additions that have been hinted in Nvidia LinkedIn profiles and oblique mentions in Nvidia Linux updates. At this point, DLSS2 supports seems highly likely, as does RT support – though ray tracing’s high power requirements may see limited utilisation.

DF Direct Weekly #121 is here, perpetrated this week by Rich Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and John Linneman.
  • 00:00:58 News 01: Spider-Man 2 story trailer released
  • 00:20:48 News 02: Beware fake Switch 2 leaks!
  • 00:35:09 News 03: RTX 4060 Ti 16GB launched
  • 00:44:31 News 04: Sega Saturn mini console unlikely?
  • 00:50:15 News 05: Dolphin emulator skipping Steam
  • 00:58:01 Supporter Q1: Have you considered benchmarking CoD on Steam Deck to gauge whether it is “too big for Switch”?
  • 01:00:49 Supporter Q2: Should Sony include a wired option for their streaming-based Project Q handheld?
  • 01:03:13 Supporter Q3: Could Intel break into the console market?
  • 01:08:12 Supporter Q4: What Japan-only Sega Saturn games would you recommend for someone who can’t speak Japanese?
  • 01:13:58 Supporter Q5: What piece of old gaming media would you like to see re-released in higher quality?
  • 01:21:25 Supporter Q6: Digital Foundry is 18 years old! How do you feel about DF after all these years?

Historically, what defines the dodgy Nintendo hardware leak is the sheer optimism of the leaker. Dev kits primed with best of the best graphics hardware, clock speeds that are totally unfeasible for a mobile device, comparisons with current consoles that simply don’t make sense. The reality is that Nintendo would almost always trade decent battery life over in-game frame-rates – the rationale being that in every kind of console, developers will work with what they’re given. From the Wii onwards, every Nintendo leak has always had to have some level of expectation management and plausibility assesstment added to it!

For me, the big question mark surrounding Switch 2 isn’t really about the specs themselves, but rather how Nintendo will further innovate the Switch concept. Based on the massive reorganisation within Nintendo that saw handheld and home console teams unite around a single platform, it’s highly unlikely that the firm will move away from the basic concept of a single system for both mobile and docked play. However, Nintendo is also a company that defines new products with innovative new ideas – which may prove challenging when your new machine has to be a Switch.

There’s also the question of backwards compatibility. In the age of digital catalogues moving through the generations with the player, the idea that a new Switch can’t do this would be a major issue. Modern Vintage Gamer’s take on this explains the technical difficulties, but on the flipside, Nintendo can count on the engineering skills of Nvidia. The hardware side of things may prove challenging, but Nvidia’s software staff are amongst the best in the business, so I’m hopeful on that count.

Meanwhile, in the Direct, our supporter questions continue to deliver the goods, discussing everything from John’s import Saturn recommendations, a general appeal to gaming media to preserve press materials and debug builds, plus more discussion of Sony’s Project Q streaming handheld. And the Supporter Program itself? Join us to access our amazing community, get regular updates on our experiments with 4K120 and 8K60 video capture, early access to new videos (Remnant 2! PC gaming on the Xbox Series X CPU!), a weekly bulletin with a detailed breakdown on what every team member is up to – and much more.