They can maintain hardware momentum with hardware revisions like they did with the DS. It doesn't need to be a full-on Switch 1.5 with a big power boost, it could just be a Switch Deluxe with a bigger and higher quality screen. That way you avoid consumer interest waning until it's time for a proper successor.
The DS era was a different time, people were easier to impress, the full weight of what Apple was about to do and the smartphone industry had not really shaped people's expectations.
So something like the OG DS to DS Lite was considered an impressive change for 2006, but that's 12 years ago.
The 3DS revisions ... every single one of them basically resulted in no sales boost, and in many cases it actually resulted in a decline.
Past that, I don't even think the 5-6 year cycle works for Nintendo, it was a set up born out of the 1980s when Nintendo had 100% third party support and could easily have 5 years of content.
In the post Playstation era where Nintendo doesn't get that anymore and has to rely on basically 7 or 8 main franchises to sell a platform ... it's hard to not be tapped out of content even by year 3. The Switch for example will have used up basically all the A/B-tier Nintendo franchises by the end of 2019 (3D Mario, 2D Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, PLG, Mario Kart, Splatoon, Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem). It's not a coincidence most Nintendo hardware sales really start to decline by year 4/5 of their hardware cycles, because that hardware cycle was never designed to be a setup where the system was mainly sold by Nintendo games. The NES and SNES were not like that.
It's very hard to maintain 5-6 years of 15 million+ hardware sales (which is likely what Nintendo wants) when you're basically relying on just one company's franchises and then some secondary/tertiary support from developers.Last edited by Soundwave - on 27 November 2018