How Much Better Do the PS5 Pro and Nintendo Switch 2 Have to Be to Recover from 2023?


While there have been some surprise hits in gaming, the distinct lack of volume on the much-hyped AAA front has started to turn 2023 into a bit of a down year. After all, it’s not hardware that floats the gaming industry. Per The Verge, Sony recently adjusted its 2023 fiscal year (which ended 31 March 2024) projections from 25 million consoles sold to 21 million.

Sales did see an uptick in Q3, but its main first-party release for Q4 seemingly struggled to shift PS5s. Elsewhere, you have what is now the very old trailblazing Nintendo Switch and the Xbox Series X. The former is over seven years old now, while the latter never really got off the ground. Where all three of these home console giants are now struggling under a lack of major AAA releases in 2024, the XSX has struggled with this since its launch.

Not only have its major studios struggled to meet expectations, but third-party developers are rarely keen to throw new releases to the Game Pass subscription service. On the way, we hear, are the PS5 Pro to further the capacity of the already well-received PlayStation 5, and the long-awaited Nintendo Switch 2.

With 2023 being labelled as a lull year, how much better do these new consoles need to be compared to the older models to provide a significant boost?

State of play of gaming hardware specs

In terms of traditional home consoles – so, the hybrid Switch to one side – the specs of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 line up rather well when compared head to head. As we explored at PSU, both have 16GB RAM, eight Zen 2 Cores – but the Xbox’s is slightly heftier at 3.8GHz to PlayStation’s 3.5GHz – 8K support, and an SSD storage drive. PlayStation’s SSD is a custom 825GB, while Xbox’s is 1TB.

While the Xbox Series X is more powerful than the PlayStation 5 in a few regards, it has sold far fewer units. At the time of writing, the PS5 had eclipsed 55 million while the XSX had just passed the 28-million mark. Perhaps this partly comes down to the specs being so close that the hardware in this duel doesn’t matter too much. That’s the angle that the developers of Codemasters have stated when discussing the GPU difference.

In the hybrid console market, we have some new players. Owners of the PlayStation 5 can jump into their console games on the handheld PlayStation Portal. It doesn’t allow for pure gaming on the go, but with a high-speed internet connection, you can jump on and play anywhere. The Switch’s true competitor now is the Steam Deck. A huge collection of PC games found on the Valve platform can now be played on the go, its specs put the Switch to shame, and the price is competitive at £350 for LCD and £480 for OLED with twice the storage at 512GB.

Advancements needed to sell the new hardware

The PS5 Pro and Switch 2 offer two very different new releases. The Switch 2 is likely Nintendo’s big leap into its next generation of consoles rather than as an improved version of the Nintendo Switch, which is what the PS5 Pro will be. We could look at the Switch 2 as needing to now go one-up on the Steam Deck, with the two being high-tier portable gaming consoles. However, Nintendo rarely plays to the beat of others.

Nintendo tends to take the position of building hardware to suit its own ecosystem. It’s a tried-and-trusted method to optimise for your own offering in other forms of entertainment and it helps to keep everything efficient. Betway operates in app form or website form. This is because its games, like the Big Bass Bonanza online slot and live casino games, can run on these platforms and don’t need dedicated hardware.

Both the website and the app house and run hundreds of slots and table games swiftly. Nintendo’s first-party games tend to be on the less demanding side as well. Their major staple series and releases within them don’t require the computing power of the likes of the newest massive RPGs or realistic racing games. Still, improvements to the specs would signal an improvement to those hit series, which would be eaten up by gamers.

For the PS5 Pro, it’s difficult to say where improvements are needed. The console already excels in its market, has crushed the Xbox console without having better specs, and isn’t plagued by crashes or common hardware or software issues like the Xbox. It appears to be an upgrade for existing PS5 owners and maybe those gamers who get one or two of the biggest and most demanding AAA games each year – and a few are coming in 2025!

Both the Switch 2 and PS5 Pro do need to offer significant upgrades in terms of specs on their predecessors, but neither need to necessarily offer drastic upgrades. In the end, the software will sell the hardware.