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What went wrong and why did the GameCube fail against the Xbox?

Dirk Benedict

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Because Halo.

And the N64 left a really bad taste in some people's mouths.
I ditched my N64 for credit towards a PlayStation. The rest is history.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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Most people, at least on gaming boards, look back at the what ifs of the Gamecube from usually a PS2 vs. Gamecube perspective with Xbox being on the side if mentioned, but I would argue the Xbox is the reason the Gamecube bombed as badly as it did, and why it failed to appeal to a large segment of the gaming population. and lost interest of developers..

The Xbox was the newcomer and people may not remember this but gaming boards from Atari Age to outlet boards were mixed to confused about Microsofts random Box entering the console race for the first time. While Microsoft would eventually have more games, many also on the PS2, and have more games exclusive in more genres well received than the Gamecube, initially the Gamecube has the upper hand and investing in the Xbox was an investment in PC game design or franchises brought to a home console for the first time, as the power gap between PC and consoles had relatively shrunken, while in the past computers were traditionally always (outside of early PC) miles ahead of consoles.

When you look at it without the PS2 involved:

1. The Gamecube had recognizable 1st and third party franchises out the gate and within the first 2 full years
2. Had access exclusively (fully or timed) to some of the top selling IPS in the industry
3. Had put out pre-release screenshots and videos earlier than Xbox did, so the power gap wasn't known yet and people figured it would be in the Gamecubes favor originally.
4.Nintendo was an established name.
5. Microsoft had a mixed game rep and a terrible corporate reputation for how they interacted in the computer industry and businesses within it.
6. Most consoles gamers were not sure about investing in a large selection of games that were not common in the console industry prior outside some compromised releases of some popular computer or PC hits.
7. The Gamecube could be gotten cheaper with pre-orders, and dropped in price in very short time after release compared to the Xbox.

Of course, overtime a lot of this changed, XBL happened, Xbox ended up with tons of games from both sides of the industry, Gamecube started missing out on many releases, but the situation became absurd later:

1.Gamecube stalled production in 2003 due to a heavy drop in sales,
2. Tons of large third parties, including ones that didn't need 3x the disc space, skipped the Gamecube
3. Several exclusives suddenly became non-exclusive
4. Gamecube forced to cut the price rapidly to $99 before anyone else (xbox and PS2)

and at this point Xbox was a good 4-5+ million units ahead.

But then the final nail had to be when Microsoft rapidly cut 1st party support and replaced the original Xbox with the 360 as it's main hardware product in 2005, with some shrinking third party support pushed out for another 1.5 years. The Gamecube, which was desperately trying to pick up releases, was an insanely good value, and had pushed several features (limited online gaming, mic, GB player, wavebird, etc.), and basically had the runner-up market to itself. The ps2 was coasting, Xbox was gone, they even kept the Gamecube running a bit after the Wii came out, and it could not close the gap, still leaving over 2 million units between it and the Xbox.

My question is what went wrong despite it's earlier advantages and it's later isolation on the track?

Was the Gamecube just never that appealing? Was Nintendo's hardware decline since NES each console a telling sign? Did Microsoft just have better games?

What could Nintendo have actually done to "beat" the Xbox with the GC?

Some will go to some PS2 comparisons, like the Gamecube not having a DVD player, but outside of game storage the Xbox didn't have DVD movie playback out the box, you had to buy an optional remote. It wasn't as easy to access as the PS2. They both also came out around the same time, so there isn't a timing advantage in Xbox's favor either.

What went wrong? What happened that an established player with an existing distribution and software partner network would flunk so badly to a new comer that even when the new comer left they still couldn't catch them?

 

LMJ

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I'll address these bulleted points specifically OP...


1. The Gamecube had recognizable 1st and third party franchises out the gate and within the first 2 full years

True, but the big N had lost a GREAT deal of 3rd party support due to the 64 and the PS2, they went into the 4th gen weak is what I'm saying...They also weren't trying to take over the living room like MS was with the Box and thus weren't willing to spend as much.

2. Had access exclusively (fully or timed) to some of the top selling IPS in the industry

True, but only in Japan box's weakest market, meanwhile the PS2 was CRUSHING them in same said market...

3. Had put out pre-release screenshots and videos earlier than Xbox did, so the power gap wasn't known yet and people figured it would be in the Gamecubes favor originally.

MS was bragging about bringing the most powerful system (at the time) to the table when they first announced they were entering the market

4.Nintendo was an established name.

IS, now so more than ever (you don't get your own Universal Park without it) and partially true, at this point people were excited to see what the PC giant could pull off software/hardware wise too, MS is very much ALSO a household name, just wasn't a console competier back then

5. Microsoft had a mixed game rep and a terrible corporate reputation for how they interacted in the computer industry and businesses within it.

True, to enthusiasts, something most console gamers are not, on top of this the internet was nowhere near the powerhouse it is now so said information was whisperd in Game shops mostly

6. Most consoles gamers were not sure about investing in a large selection of games that were not common in the console industry prior outside some compromised releases of some popular computer or PC hits.

No, most console gamers were looking forward to FINALLY getting these games as the previous gen had literally just given us ACTUAL 3D gaming ...we were chomping at the bit baby, Western RPGs, More FPS, Strategies, Stealth etc all of these had been toyed with in the 64/PS1 days, but now we had powerful systems


7. The Gamecube could be gotten cheaper with pre-orders, and dropped in price in very short time after release compared to the Xbox.

I think this was partially desperation on the N's part, the problem with the Cube is it looked cheap )ironically the strongest built of the three) and thus weak, I get what Nintendo was going for, but the PS2 was sexy and ...boxy, the Bow (while obscene) looked powerful, I loved my Cube but it looked like a toy.

Ultimately the only thing that kept the Box from beating the Cube and N further was still it's largest weakness...lack of Japanese market support. This is honestly one of the key reasons why Nintendo was even able to hang in there at all, on top of that the choice to go with mini discs meant that the Cube wasn't a multifuntion machine like the Box/PS2

Lastly the management of the N at the time were stuck in the past, While MS was praising their one millionth Live subscriber, nintendo was saying "people don't want to play online right now"


 
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Yoboman

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1. Hideous design
2. Majority of gamers were teens at the time, growing up through SNES and PS1 and Nintendo was stuck with the “kiddy” tag
3. Cutting price to $99 was a dumb decision and undercut the perceived value of the system. Many people thought it was weaker than PS2 just because of the pricing
 
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jufonuk

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Weird mini CD’s for the GC and Xbox had DVD so it was a DVD player and a console. Also halo was a kick ass game.

I had all three during various times.
Xbox was my fave then game cube.(even though I am a Nintendo fanboy) I underrated the PS2 in hindsight that was stupid of me. I called it a fifa machine I never really played JPGS and mgs2 disappointed me. So I stupidly sold my PS2 after a few months.
 
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RoboFu

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N64 had a little to do with it but mainly it was not using basic dvds and third party relations were still sour.

also people at the time didn’t like that it looked like a toy. The nes, snes, and n64 did not look like toys in the US.
 
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Three

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I wish the small disc theory would die ; there's a bigger difference between ps3 blu ray and a 360 disc than a gamecube disc and a Ps2 DVD. Obviously the more space the better, but it wasn't a huge deterrent for developers or really made a significant difference in any game's content.



EDIT : Most you could argue was the lack of actual DVD movie playback was an issue in terms of sales, but not a game issue.
Unfortunately MS had a clause that said if you are releasing a game on 360 and PS3 there should be content parity. They refused release on 360 if you had extra content on PS3 day one. They ended up burning DVD size games on a Bluray.
It made sense and they could copy data for better seek times.

If Gamecube had the sales both in terms of hardware and third party software devs would have just aimed for the 1.46GBs gamecube to begin with but it did end up being a problem porting afterwards.

I think what made gamecube fail to sell though wasn't disc size it was just Nintendos audience. It was the same for N64 they didn't buy third party software and Nintendo weren't that third party friendly. They took a different approach with Wii and were successful, then tried to reintroduce the home console with Wii U and failed again so went for what they were doing good at with the Switch. The handheld market.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

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I think that the most important factor is that gaming was changing. The industry is going towards stuff like MGS2, DMC and GTA3, and you launch your console with a glorified minigame (yes, that’s Luigi’s Mansion), a Star Wars game, Super Monkey Ball and the like. Meanwhile XBox launches with its year’s most acclaimed game. The Cube’s “kiddy” image was mostly propaganda, but Nintendo really acted like they were launching a platform to play old stuff. They were really out of touch with the way the industry was going, and when they tried to steer course it was late. I’m really dubious that even a Spaceworld-like Zelda would have pulled sales. On the gameplay side of things, Nintendo’s original plan really does seem like making a mid-1990s horse compete with early 2000s stallions. Also, not making the Cube a multimedia machine like its competitors probably hurt its sales more than Nintendo will ever know. It’s ironic how Nintendo did so much to curb piracy for two generations straight, going with proprietary formats, and yet struggled so much to even sell their originals.
 

Woo-Fu

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I think the Gamecube did as well as could be expected in the face of the ps2 juggernaut. Why are people coming up with reasons that are exclusive to the Gamecube when the Xbox did just as poorly and burned a lot more money doing it? Without Halo there probably wouldn't have been another Xbox.

The two critical failures that could have allowed them to perform slightly better in the face of Sony's domination would have been the inclusion of dvd-playing---although the licensing might have been prohibitive at the time, I do not know----and marketing to an older demographic. They exclusively targeted the youngest segment of the market when they weren't the ones deciding which console the household would buy. The decisionmakers wanted a console they could put on a shelf in their av stack and the cube simply didn't cut it.

Personally speaking I loved the Gamecube. Super Monkeyball for life.
 
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nerdface

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It sucks the gamecube failed. I hated the Wii’s, but the gcn was just a solid machine...no carts, but the load times were decent, and I consider no HDD to be a benefit to it long term life.

Games were a lot more sparse back then...but when I think of truly great replayable games that stand up today? Fzero, SMB1, and Waverace are the trifecta. Compared to what, Halo1? I love that game, but the first Xbox was a Halo adapter for me. I already had a geforce3.

PS2 was the VHS-like machine you’d rent jaggy ass games from the local soon to be blockbuster video.
 
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SkylineRKR

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Dvd is completely overblown.

The hype for ps2 was insane. It was unstoppable. Ps1 was the most dominant console ever, ps2 was second comming.

Dvd mattered but it was not that important.

It was. Not for movie playback anymore perhaps, but certainly for storage. There were 2 consoles offering DVD5 or 9 solutions, and then one offering a fraction of that. Third party games suffered as they had to compress for Cube. I think all Cube games topped out at Dolby Pro Logic too. I remember playing Prince of Persia on GC and it sounded awful.
 
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Captain Toad

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This thread is hilarious. Are we seriously talking about why the original Xbox was successful? It sold 24 million lifetime units. It's competitor sold 155 million. That's not a success. First console or not. Especially when that new player is a company as huge as Microsoft.

The same would be true if GameCube sold 24 million and Xbox sold 22 million.

Never has the phrase, "second place if the first loser" rung more true than when the score was 155 to 24 to 22.

Some day we will have a thread why Stadia was so successful compared to some other random streaming service that had even 10% fewer players than Stadia's abysmal numbers.
 
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nerdface

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This thread is hilarious. Are we seriously talking about why the original Xbox was successful? It sold 24 million lifetime units. It's competitor sold 155 million. That's not a success. New console or not.

The same would be true if GameCube sold 24 million and Xbox sold 22 million.

Never has the phrase, "second place if the first loser" rung more true than when the score was 155 to 24 to 22.

Yeah sure, but I don’t brag about the sales of my Panasonic vhs tape deck either... mostly because it’s a boring machine.
 

Bernkastel

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This thread is hilarious. Are we seriously talking about why the original Xbox was successful? It sold 24 million lifetime units. It's competitor sold 155 million. That's not a success. First console or not. Especially when that new player is a company as huge as Microsoft.

The same would be true if GameCube sold 24 million and Xbox sold 22 million.

Never has the phrase, "second place if the first loser" rung more true than when the score was 155 to 24 to 22.

Some day we will have a thread why Stadia was so successful compared to some other random streaming service that had even 10% fewer players than Stadia's abysmal numbers.
I advertise for PlayStation. For free.
 

S0ULZB0URNE

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Against Xbox?? Xbox didn't sell either. What are you talking about?

GameCube - 22 Million
Xbox - 24 Million
PlayStation 2 - 155 Million
Yeah both were bottom feeders in sales.

Gameplay/experience wise....
IMO
1.XB
2.GC
3.PS2
4.DC

Xbox barely beat the GC to me and that was the last great Nintendo console(been downhill ever since) IMO
 

V4skunk

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GC is a beast and games like Rogue Squadron1+2, Metroid prime 2, RE4, F-Zero GX etc... Smoked the Xbox and PS2 games in GFX.
 
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The GCN failed coming off the failure of the N64. Sony had a ton of hype for the PS2 because PSX was such a homerun, and when MS stepped up to the plate they generated a TON of buzz because of the Xbox and its relationship to graphical power. The GCN was just sort of caught between the two. A good system, Nintendo DID try and take risks by getting REmake and RE4, MGS Twin Snakes,, Eternal Darkness, --- plus venerable franchises like Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Super Mario, Celda, Metroid, etc.

All the GCN told Nintendo is when you spend a bunch of money on new games and good hardware, the return isn't worth it.
 
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wvnative

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Custom discs that were more expensive to publish games on + their lack of space

Failing market

Controller with fewer inputs, devs too lazy to workaround in some cases

Lack of proper online which was taking off at the time

Gay ass looking box (in early 2000s, it looked childish, like a toy)
 
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They sold near each other, no? Both failed.
No they did not "sell" (action) near each other.
I mean fail is a strong word. The Xbox sold like 4 million more? That's nothing. Nintendo failed in general after selling less than the N64 which sold dramatically less than the newcomer PS1.

They sold nearly the same.


It sold 2 million more, but still bombed. I disagree with the third-party comment. GameCube got some great third-party games, especially from Capcom.

The Xbox was a commercial failure, but from a critical and internal position it was a success and did what it needed to do. But the Gamecube and Xbox were not "selling" similar in a race and crossed the finish line near similar positions, the GC was actually relatively significantly behind the Xbox but the Xbox dropped out 2 years early because of cash bleed.

The fact the Gamecube sold only 22 million and couldn't surpass the Xbox with 2 years of price cuts and fire sales actually says more about the Gamecube than the Xbox, the Xbox dropped out in the middle of the race and still won. People keep looking at the GC and Xbox sales numbers as if they were selling similar the entire time and then just happened to be 2 million apart, the truth is the GC was so unappealing that while it closed the gap, they still couldn't catch up with a 2nd place competitor that was no longer in the race.By late 2005 several xbox displays were shrunk, gone, or regulated to cornerswith shelves of used games depending on where you are, by 2006 the few stores that were still selling new stuff nearly all went kaput.

When you say they sold nearly the same that's implying that the GC was competitive the entire way through instead of the reality that the Xbox was gone and basically gave Gamecube the opportunity to close the gap.
 
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the PS3, even tho it still sold more than the 360,

Oh did Microsoft finally release those final 360 sales numbers? Link?

I wish the small disc theory would die ; there's a bigger difference between ps3 blu ray and a 360 disc than a gamecube disc and a Ps2 DVD. Obviously the more space the better, but it wasn't a huge deterrent for developers or really made a significant difference in any game's content.

Got to the point on 360 where 2 discs became normal, usually to hold the multiplayer. Treyarch said COD was limited in its textures because of 360's space. Single player action games like Castlevania needed 2 discs even. Why? Because it was a ps3 lead game ; imagine how many games were lead 360 and could have had more unique assets with bigger storage media.

Point being, 360 was a huge success despite storage limits. Gamecube had a demographic problem.

EDIT : Most you could argue was the lack of actual DVD movie playback was an issue in terms of sales, but not a game issue.

Xbox used DVD's out the box, and Sony quickly conformed as well. Games were squeezing out more more space on DVD's quickly. Even early unimpressive early PS2 stuff like SFEX3 were over half the size of a Gamecube disc and as DVD improved that gap became wider.

Where Blu-ray was impractical for games, the players were slow, you had to install all the time, and it was never even a 3rd as successful than DVD and costed more. Many games for years barely used all that space, and DVD was still the lead format in the industry where even PC/MAC quickly backed off from pushing to replace DVD drives with BR and eventually they moved away from DVD drives built-in a few years later to external, if you wanted it.

They aren't even close to similar. A year into the PS2 and less than a full year into the Xbox you already had games that were filling or bigger in size than the 1.4GB Gamecube disc. DVD was the standard for storage on two consoles and was quickly taking over PC, it was a major reason for a drop in third-party support later. Eventually there were games that you would have needed 3-4 discs to play, that's additional work for a console that was already selling at $99 not too long after launch and wasn't showing any signs of long-term sales growth.

Momentum is quite important - that the reason PS5 is doing better than PS4 launch also plays the part I think. PS4 launch, they had to do many things right considering Sony struggled the most on PS3 times, almost going head-to-head with Xbox 360 in U.S. Plus, they didn't have BC for PS3, so it was basically like launching a brand new console platform. They had a lot of hurdles, but I think the no-nonsense approach and system's superior power vs Xbox One also helped out. Sony did a lot of things right for PS4, and such success is helping them out on PS5 launch too.

MS had good momentum going on Xbox One - but they lost out eventually, unable to keep the momentum into XSX, which I think is one of the reason that it's not selling as much as PS5. MS, however does seem to be doing a lot of things right this gen, so we'll see how it goes at the end of the cycle. Currently Sony does seem to suffer from some negativity at the moment - will see how they'll turn it around.

Not only are you rushing off into a completely different topic, but you're making an assumptions that's already been debunked. You are talking about something not selling good that is selling 1:1 every unit they produce? That doesn't make sense, the actual logical reason would that the console has obstructions preventing larger manufacturing. There's even a thread on that, multiple, and the "number" put out by a "source" about the XSX sales numbers isn't even accurate anyway, I'm sure we'll start seeing Vgchartz used as a sales source soon forXSX shipments,
 

Termite

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If you were into gaming culture at the time, it's obvious that the Gamecube's fate had absolutely nothing to do with the Xbox, and everything to do with the aftermath of PS1 vs N64, and then the huge launch of the PS2.

The feeling at the time was that Nintendo had lost 3rd party support irretrievably to Sony, and that their first party software was too few and far between. Further, games were just becoming mainstream in culture outside of just being a kid's toy. Magazines (who were desperate for gaming to be legitimized) pushed this aspect hard both in the US and the EU, and Sony was the standard bearer of this "cool gaming" moment. This meant that Nintendo was written off as "kiddy" (even in publications aimed at kids!) and their rep really suffered at the time. It sounds silly to us in 2021, but that kiddy label was a fucking killer in the very different marketing landscape of 2001. Coming out with a big purple lunchbox that couldn't even play DVDs (the new hot shit) as their hardware sealed the deal.

Hardware matters. Almost all of the record breaking Switch software was on Wii U or had a quality equivalent on Wii U. It didn't matter, because people didn't want the hardware. Such was the case with the Cube. I bought it and loved it, but I was well into gaming culture at the time and it was clear which way the wind was blowing.

Xbox did very well to carve out a spot for those who cared more about cutting edge visuals and shooters, and just happened to have a killer app that carried it. It had nerd cred amongst a certain crowd. Shit, some games could do 720p if you had the right set-up to handle that. So they had their niche. But it had nothing to do with the Cube failing.
 
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Xbox did very well to carve out a spot for those who cared more about cutting edge visuals and shooters, and just happened to have a killer app that carried it. It had nerd cred amongst a certain crowd. Shit, some games could do 720p if you had the right set-up to handle that. So they had their niche. But it had nothing to do with the Cube failing.

Xbox literally beat the Gamecube in all the places the N64 did well in except Japan and maybe France. They took shelf space and developers away indirectly and directly, and retailers, gaming mags, and even Nintendo though MS as short sighted.

If Xbox wasn't there Gamecube would have at least doubled sales.
 

Termite

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Xbox literally beat the Gamecube in all the places the N64 did well in except Japan and maybe France. They took shelf space and developers away indirectly and directly, and retailers, gaming mags, and even Nintendo though MS as short sighted.

If Xbox wasn't there Gamecube would have at least doubled sales.
I lived next to a game store. You are right that Xbox took that shelf space. What you don't get is that if Xbox hadn't existed Nintendo would still have lost that shelf space, just to more PS2 stuff.

It wasn't Xbox driving Nintendo out of the stores. It was lack of interest in Nintendo's product.

Nintendo would not have sold more than 1m more had Xbox not existed. Their lack of appeal vs PS2 was the entire problem.
 
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lachesis

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Not only are you rushing off into a completely different topic, but you're making an assumptions that's already been debunked. You are talking about something not selling good that is selling 1:1 every unit they produce? That doesn't make sense, the actual logical reason would that the console has obstructions preventing larger manufacturing. There's even a thread on that, multiple, and the "number" put out by a "source" about the XSX sales numbers isn't even accurate anyway, I'm sure we'll start seeing Vgchartz used as a sales source soon forXSX shipments,

I do apologize for derailing the topic, but wanted to say something about the momentum that carries from previous gen is important in launch, and also carrying that momentum is very important in the success of the console - and it takes quite a bit of doing things "right" to correct the course.

I am also looking forward to hear about any accurate XSX shipments and sales # as well. I probably should have used different wording. Instead of not selling well... hmm. The demand is lower than PS5 it seems? Reason being is that I noticed the slower pace of sell-out, and the lower scalping price for XSX. If XSX is indeed (and probably) more scarce than PS5 by manufactured # - I just don't see why XSX be generally priced lower by those scalpers than PS5, if I assume the demand for XSX and PS5 are equal or similar. I know, it's pretty pitiful to really measure something's value by scalper's pricing - but there's not much to really go by.
 
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Umbasaborne

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Like others have said halo, gamers at the time were more interested in shooters and violent games than nintendo’s usually offerings. The snails crawl pace that nintendo released big first party n64 games at didn’t instill a lot of confidence that the game roll out on gamecube would be any better/faster.
 

Termite

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I mean anecdotal as hell but I remember going from high school to college during the transition between generations. And at college in late 2002, we'd watch Champions League games before going out to the student bar. Everything was PS2 on TV. The sponsorship, the pre-game ads, everything. It was already baked into the culture. Everyone had one, or wanted one. So at half-time I'd ask the guys if they wanted to play Fifa (WC 2002 - awesome game). And they'd say yes, of course, great. But it was on the cube. And when I broke out the cube - they'd refuse to play. Straight up "I'm not playing that kiddy shit", "the fuck are these gay controllers" and so on. It was the exact same game, but Nintendo's rep was in the gutter - it was considered a child's toy. And it wasn't just college kids acting like this - this was most teenagers in the UK at that time. Whose opinions then filtered onto kids and so forth. The Cube's name was dirt. It was considered uncool in a way that liking anime or my little pony is or whatever. You're kind of a weirdo for liking it. I know that's hard to believe giving the subsequent success of Wii and Switch, but that's how it was at the time. People looked at me fucking sideways for owning one. And I'm convinced this is representative of the culture at that time.

If you had asked any of these guys what an Xbox was, they would have had zero idea. It was the PS1 vs N64 reputation followed by the PS2 changing the gaming culture that killed the cube.
 
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Romulus

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This thread is hilarious. Are we seriously talking about why the original Xbox was successful? It sold 24 million lifetime units. It's competitor sold 155 million. That's not a success. First console or not. Especially when that new player is a company as huge as Microsoft.

The same would be true if GameCube sold 24 million and Xbox sold 22 million.

Never has the phrase, "second place if the first loser" rung more true than when the score was 155 to 24 to 22.

Some day we will have a thread why Stadia was so successful compared to some other random streaming service that had even 10% fewer players than Stadia's abysmal numbers.

Easy. Xbox was brand new, while Nintendo had decades of experience with built in fans. Xbox outselling Nintendo on their first try might only be by a measly 2 million units, but it might as well be 20+ million considering that.
 
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Captain Toad

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Easy. Xbox was brand new, while Nintendo had decades of experience with built in fans. Xbox outselling Nintendo on their first try might only be by a measly 2 million units, but it might as well be 20 million considering that.

How did Sony manage to outsell Nintendo by nearly 70 million on their first try then?

You guys act like Nintendo was coming off a huge success. N64 wasn't an enormous success either.
 
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Romulus

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How did Sony manage to outsell Nintendo by nearly 70 million on their first try then?

I said in my last post there have only been a couple of brands(keyword) to do that. Most everyone else has to start building years in advance. Sony was already a monster and familiar brand at least, and that's huge.
 

22:22

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A lot of great answers. I just wanted to add that the GameCube is one my of my favorite consoles ever. Games, controller and last but not least the console design. Absolutely beautiful, sexy toy.
 

Termite

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How did Sony manage to outsell Nintendo by nearly 70 million on their first try then?
Because they were a hardware company known for excellent products that only had two major competitors (Sega with Saturn and Nintendo with N64) - who both massively fucked up their own products?

Whereas Microsoft (a software company) was entering an industry with an established juggernaut and a dynamite console (Sony with PS2). Furthermore, the entire console games industry was titled towards Japan at that time so an American company had a massive disadvantage in dealing with software devs. They had a huge uphill climb.

The context matters. Xbox was Microsoft's first piece of hardware and established a new business for them that still continues today. It was a success by any metric.
 
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Romulus

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Because they were a hardware company known for excellent products that only had two major competitors (Sega with Saturn and Nintendo with N64) - who both massively fucked up their own products?

Whereas Microsoft (a software company) was entering an industry with an established juggernaut and a dynamite console (Sony with PS2). Furthermore, the entire console games industry was titled towards Japan at that time so an American company had a massive disadvantage in dealing with software devs. They had a huge uphill climb.

The context matters. Xbox was Microsoft's first piece of hardware and established a new business for them that still continues today. It was a success by any metric.

Not only that, Sony had captured a ton of the consumer demographic Xbox was going after, late teens, early 20s. Everyone had a PlayStation, and for Xbox to go head on against that? They weren't like Nintendo with their kiddy games and their constant backlog of dedicated fans. Nintendo literally had something different, Xbox didn't. And for Xbox to sell 20, even 15 million is a monster success. It was a weird console with a weird name and zero fans.
 
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I was 18yrs old. Coming off of playing games like Tribes,quake and Battlefield. Halo looked great and was a shooter. I'm a big Nintendo fan now but at the time Nintendo was a kids console. The last one I had was Snes and even Mortal Combat had less blood and stuff. I wanted Fps and graphics.

My Brother was 12 and got a GameCube. In my area that's what 12yr olds got.
 
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Also I was big into online gaming. Using Roger Wilco then TS to chat. Xbox live was a much better experience than anything else in the console market.
 

PooBone

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Because Halo.

And the N64 left a really bad taste in some people's mouths.
^^^ Because Halo.

And I loved the N64, but aside from a few exclusives here and there at the time, RE4, REMake, Eternal Darkness, Twilight Princess, etc, the lack of a great FPS to follow up on the N64's Goldeneye and Perfect Dark really hurt it. Local multiplayer felt like it was constricted to Mario Kart and Mario Party. For gamers in their teens or older at the time, that just didn't cut it.
 

Romulus

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^^^ Because Halo.

And I loved the N64, but aside from a few exclusives here and there at the time, RE4, REMake, Eternal Darkness, Twilight Princess, etc, the lack of a great FPS to follow up on the N64's Goldeneye and Perfect Dark really hurt it. Local multiplayer felt like it was constricted to Mario Kart and Mario Party. For gamers in their teens or older at the time, that just didn't cut it.

Yeah imagine Nintendo GC coming out of the gate swinging with online support for Mario Kart, later Smash etc. Holy shit that would have been a completely different story in the early 2000s.
 

YCoCg

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Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Bully, Manhunt, Midnight Club II & 3 and The Warriors.

What was the only console of that generation to NOT have any of those and refuse to work with Rockstar Games for most of it?
 

UnNamed

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Gamecube's failure is an anomaly.
Where everyone agrees on why Nintendo lost against Sony, it's not that simple to understand why Gamecube failed against Microsoft.

Situation for Microsoft was bad before the release of the XBOX:
-MS already failing in creating a multimedia set top box for families (HDPC?)
-fear of titles from PC that doesn't fit with console gaming, MS was popular with Flight Simulator, strategic games, there were specific genres on Windows only, so people thought XBOX would have had that type of contents. A PC with a joypad.
-perception of an "arrogant american attitude" with The Rock and similar at the reveal, versus the well know japanese style from Nintendo and Sony.
-disliking to the "PC hardware" inside XBOX vs exotic hardware

Nintendo was initially well received:
-Mario and other franchises, they know how to make games
-N64 had it's followers, GBA was strong, Nintendo still was a big brand after all.
-Second parties on N64 to fill the gap with Nintendo games

At this point, was very hard to believe Nintendo would have lost against MS. But at launch, MS had some cards to play:
-infinite money: there was this rhetoric in which MS would have won a console war, eventually, because they have tons of money to waste. This is not true, but many believed it.
-strong lineup at launch: Halo, PGR, DoA3 + RallySport, JSR and Max Payne some months later ( I would also add Amped, Oddworld-the stolen exclusive and Yakuza). And more later because MS "buy everything".
-the living room war: a multimedia machine to control all, photos, videos, channels, gaming etc. We now know Apple unintentionally won the war with Ipad and Iphone, but at the time the idea of a device like this was very popular. XBOX was created as the perfect multimedia machine for this new trend.
-online was already a thing among gamers, even console gamers, but for everyone XBOX was the machine with the online built in it, despite Dreamcast and PS2 (despite Sony claims at launch) suffers from the lack of online for some years. MS promised us online, and they gave us in a very spectacular, solid, functional way (except the price).

Nintendo instead had a weak response:
-few games at launch, especially in japan
-lack of big names and the weak reception of Luigi Mansion among fans because "give us mario instead".
-a toy unable to play DVD against the new multimedia frontier, simply already out of it's time.
-lack of second party games to fill the gaps between Nintendo games.
-like the WiiU from Wii, N64 gave Nintendo a false confidence about N64 user would have moved to GC
-good third party support, but ancient relationship with them which ruined everything.
 
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PooBone

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Yeah imagine Nintendo GC coming out of the gate swinging with online support for Mario Kart, later Smash etc. Holy shit that would have been a completely different story in the early 2000s.
Hard to imagine. Would have been INSANE.
 
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Clear

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Wrong product for its time. Console games were targeting a teen and older demographic, and its toy-like looks were off-putting.
Also, lack of media functions and a controller out of step with the PSXBOX meta.
 

Dream-Knife

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I ditched my N64 for credit towards a PlayStation. The rest is history.
Sucks man. N64 was the best.
If you were into gaming culture at the time, it's obvious that the Gamecube's fate had absolutely nothing to do with the Xbox, and everything to do with the aftermath of PS1 vs N64, and then the huge launch of the PS2.

The feeling at the time was that Nintendo had lost 3rd party support irretrievably to Sony, and that their first party software was too few and far between. Further, games were just becoming mainstream in culture outside of just being a kid's toy. Magazines (who were desperate for gaming to be legitimized) pushed this aspect hard both in the US and the EU, and Sony was the standard bearer of this "cool gaming" moment. This meant that Nintendo was written off as "kiddy" (even in publications aimed at kids!) and their rep really suffered at the time. It sounds silly to us in 2021, but that kiddy label was a fucking killer in the very different marketing landscape of 2001. Coming out with a big purple lunchbox that couldn't even play DVDs (the new hot shit) as their hardware sealed the deal.

Hardware matters. Almost all of the record breaking Switch software was on Wii U or had a quality equivalent on Wii U. It didn't matter, because people didn't want the hardware. Such was the case with the Cube. I bought it and loved it, but I was well into gaming culture at the time and it was clear which way the wind was blowing.

Xbox did very well to carve out a spot for those who cared more about cutting edge visuals and shooters, and just happened to have a killer app that carried it. It had nerd cred amongst a certain crowd. Shit, some games could do 720p if you had the right set-up to handle that. So they had their niche. But it had nothing to do with the Cube failing.
It wasn't even the N64. Nintendo changed when the Gamecube came out. They targeted a younger demographic and lost Rareware, which made the N64 so great.

As a 13 year old I enjoyed Melee and Double Dash when it came out, but it was nothing compared to how amazing Halo was. Kids didn't care about Metroid Prime or Wind Waker, we wanted GTA and Halo. GC had good games, I even bought Splinter Cell on GC over Xbox for some reason, but the trend was that the bigger games were coming to Xbox.

I actually owed both a GC and Xbox that gen, getting both in 2002. Only picked up a PS2 in 2019.
 

93xfan

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Such a shame it didn’t do better. Loved Mario Sunshine, Windwaker, Metroid Prime, REmake, F-Zero GX and Smash.

I think not watching with a mainline Mario or Zelda game did hurt it though.
 

Termite

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Sucks man. N64 was the best.

It wasn't even the N64. Nintendo changed when the Gamecube came out. They targeted a younger demographic and lost Rareware, which made the N64 so great.

As a 13 year old I enjoyed Melee and Double Dash when it came out, but it was nothing compared to how amazing Halo was. Kids didn't care about Metroid Prime or Wind Waker, we wanted GTA and Halo. GC had good games, I even bought Splinter Cell on GC over Xbox for some reason, but the trend was that the bigger games were coming to Xbox.

I actually owed both a GC and Xbox that gen, getting both in 2002. Only picked up a PS2 in 2019.
Yes, losing Rare was a killer blow. Goldeneye was the title that made N64 somewhat cool. Yeah, you might play Mario 64 and Zelda all day, but to your friends you'd say "I got it for multiplayer Goldeneye and Mario Kart" and that was considered cool. Perfect Dark continued that tradition.

With the GameCube they squandered that whole audience, and as you rightly mention most of them moved to GTA or online shooters etc. I don't think Nintendo intentionally went after a younger audience, though - I just don't think they realized what Rare meant to the N64, and they accidentally picked up that shooter audience. They never actually understood it or valued it. In their eyes they were going after the exact same youthful audience with N64 and Gamecube.
 
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Azelover

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Marketing, mostly. The design of the system, coupled with a late launch in the gen. Also, a lack of really huge exclusive hitters. Metroid Prime got a lot of goodwill, but we all know Metroid isn't the biggest franchise. Also Wind Waker was universally praised, but the public wasn't ready for it, and its new art style. I could go on and on.

There just wasn't enough momentum overall. That probably sums it up..
 

SpiceRacz

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It looked like a kid's toy and it lacked a DVD player, which was a big deal at the time. With that said, the system had a high software attach rate and if I remember right, Nintendo was still more profitable than Sony and Microsoft during that generation. Partly because of GBA and I believe they were selling GC at a profit earlier than the competition.

Great system, but highly overrated.