Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Why did the Gamecube fail?

What do you guys think was the reason? 

TBH, It's hard for me to fathom why the Gamecube failed as well as it did, because imo it almost seemed like the perfect console and Nintendo really tried to make it essentially the perfect console that would recreate the days of the SNES. The Gamecube was a powerful system more powerful than the PS2, mostly easy to develop for, it was affordable at the time for the amount of power you were getting, 100$ less than the PS2 while having more capable hardware, you had great Nintendo 1st Party Games as always and a decent amount of multiplat support, some big 3rd party games that were exclusive temporarily like Resident Evil, good controller, and well built system overall.

I know one of the most common reasons I hear is that it used small DVDs which limited developers from porting games from Xbox & PS2, which was a similar situation we saw with the N64 with cartridges. However, people need to realize that for the most part most 6th Gen games were able to fit in a 1.5GB storage space, even bigger games like GTA 3 had the capability to fit on a Gamecube Disc. Only huge games that gen would've had a problem fitting in Gamecube discs, but even than we've seen systems difficult to develop for such as the PS2,PS3, and even something like the Switch get great 3rd Party Support despite limitations.

And yes I know the Gamecube missed out on some big hitters like GTA and some FPS type games. However, for the most part the Gamecube was getting most Major Multiplats, COD,Mortal Kombat,Sport Games, ECT... Plus even if the GC missed a few multiplats, I legitimately find it hard to believe so many people would ignore the Gamecube as much as they did just cause it was missing a few multiplats, especially when the GC has great Nintendo games as well, especially when Nintendo was pricing the system much lower than their competitors at 100$ at one point. I would think that the GC would have been a good complimentary system or people with that pricepoint.

Also, to those who grew up through the 6th Gen and was aware enough to realize what was going on that gen. What did you or other people see in the Gamecube that made it less attractive at the time? What did you see as the main reason why it failed from personal experience?



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My guess is that not enough people bought it.



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It was purple and ugly?

More seriously though, when you ask "What did you or other people see in the Gamecube?" the answer is more along the lines of "What didn't I see?" and that was the Gamecube itself. It had basically no market presence. Everybody I knew had a PS2, Gamecube was barely even known about. Granted I'm from Europe where the NES, SNES and N64 didn't sell all that well either. So very little existing brand awareness, plus very little marketing or shelf space in stores and of course it isn't going to sell well.

Plus if, like me, you don't rate Nintendo games that highly then the Gamecube had a serious dearth of good games. I can't think of a single good exclusive for it, and for multiplats why would you get a weird system that nobody else owns for them, when you can get the same system all your mates have and borrow their games?



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For what i can remember about that time period it was mostly the games. I had Cube and still have it btw :D but all my friends had PS2 and it was all about the games. It was basically PS2 has games and Cube don't have games. Don't know how much truth there was behind that and at that time internet wasn't really what it is today so the information was not available as it is.



javi741 said:

especially when the GC has great Nintendo games as well

The only "great" Nintendo games the GC got were 3-4 games from minor franchises sales-wise.



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Not enough quality software.

It had a few gems, but overall the weakest first party lineup of any Nintendo console, and if you weren't primarily interested in Nintendo games then PS2 and Xbox were the better choice.

Last edited by curl-6 - on 07 October 2020

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Its of course a combination of several things. Some people mention the lack of DVD playback, I doubt that was the main issue. I think it was overall marketed poorly, and Playstation 2 already had so much momentum, that it was difficult to get into the market.
And honestly, Nintendo's first party games during that generation just weren't good enough. The N64 had 4 system sellers in the first half of its life: Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye 007, and Ocarina of Time all giving the system momentum. What did the GameCube have?
Definitive titles in the relatively small Metroid and Smash Bros. franchises can't make up for solid yet underwhelming edtions to their core franchises.



I disagree with the premise that the GameCube was a great concept for a system. Coming off the NES, SNES, and even the N64, the GameCube felt uninspired, like it lacked any kind of vision. It was the first Nintendo home console that didn’t have hype around its release. Why? It was a PS2 clonebox with a less functional controller and less functional hardware and was, frankly, kind of ugly.

The negligible extra CPU power over PS2 wasn’t relevant, and it didn’t result in easier development, better graphics, better audio, or anything else. In fact, ports had notably lower quality audio, even from Dreamcast (as seen with Skies of Arcadia Legends) which had less clarity. Other games, like Baten Kaitos, has extremely muffled audio.

Controls for games had to be altered and dumbed down for the GameCube controller (SSX Tricky, for example), or cancelled altogether (Capcom couldn’t bring their core Street Fighters over). This was because the face buttons were fucked. The D-pad was super tiny. The Z-trigger was hard to find. And the smallness of the controller made it so people with larger hands (in particular, non-Asian men) would experience terrible cramps when playing games like Mario Kart and SSX.

Other problems included a poor library of software. Nintendo as a developer isn’t really a strength when the games felt mostly half-baked (Sunshine, Mario Kart Cube, and Celda especially). The GameCube didn’t have any killer app; something every successful Nintendo console, and the N64, had. The lineup felt like a giant step down from N64’s 1st/2nd party releases. Yeah it had Metroid, Smash Melee, Animal Crossing, and Pikmin, but those felt a little small compared to the monuments of the N64: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Goldeneye 007, Banjo Kazooie, Lylat Wars.

Third party support was abysmal, even though it was a PS2 clonebox, only around 20% of PS2 games made it to GameCube. So the clonebox strategy didn’t pay. Not only was third party support low in volume, but also low in quality: no major third party releases happened - the biggest were probably a port of Sonic Adventure 2, a port of Soul Caliber 2, and a port of Resident Evil 4; which is quite sad, considering none of them sold particularly well. As I previously mentioned, the GameCube versions of third party games typically inferior or were games that people generally preferred to play on PS2 - because, why wouldn’t you?

Other issues:
* GameCube was aimed at kids. It was PS2 for your kid brother. While not all games were made for kids, these were more the exception to the rule. The thing looked like a lunchbox. The kiddy aura of the GameCube is something its fans like to conveniently forget.
* It has a feeling of obsoleteness throughout its run.
* Nintendo had pathetic marketing for the GameCube, and looked like a dork getting bullied by Sony.
* Nintendo might have cannibalized their own product as it felt like GBA, DS, and Wii (called Revolution for some of it) got way more attention than GameCube during its lifespan.


While people who were kids during the GameCube era might have a brighter memory of it, it was Nintendo’s console during my University years - my memory is somewhat less nostalgic (not really at all, to be honest). Generally, and especially in the English world, the reputation of GameCube was often summed up in one word: gay.

Last edited by Jumpin - on 07 October 2020

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Vinther1991 said:

Its of course a combination of several things. Some people mention the lack of DVD playback, I doubt that was the main issue. I think it was overall marketed poorly, and Playstation 2 already had so much momentum, that it was difficult to get into the market.
And honestly, Nintendo's first party games during that generation just weren't good enough. The N64 had 4 system sellers in the first half of its life: Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye 007, and Ocarina of Time all giving the system momentum. What did the GameCube have?
Definitive titles in the relatively small Metroid and Smash Bros. franchises can't make up for solid yet underwhelming edtions to their core franchises.

the wind waker?



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1. Gamecube came out a year after the PS2. Following behind your more successful competitor is never a good thing. Imagine if Xbox Series X came out a year after the PS5.

2. The Gamecube followed the N64. I know plenty of us loved our N64 but it was plagued with game draughts and ultimately fell short of the software line that people had come to expect from a Nintendo platform loosing lots of 3rd party support to playstation.

3. Gamecube did not have many must have titles. Gamecube software became increasingly more niche. Titles like Metroid and Pikmin have never sold huge amounts, its popular franchsies saw incarnations which alientated or dissappointed fans (Windwakers style & Mario Sunshine gameplay & level design).

4. PS2 had all the important 3rd party exclusives early on. Its not all about the failings of Nintendo, but more what did PS2 have that it didn't? In this case, generation shaping titles like GTA3, Metal Gear Solid, Tekken, Kingdom Hearts, GT. Most of PS2's mega smashes were 3rd party, most arrived before the gamecube even hit its 1 year anniversary and most of these relationships were established by Nintendo's failure to produce dev friendly hardware or practices the prior generation. Porting games was also a far more expensive task back then.

5. Following in line of what the PS2 did right, it had a DVD.

6. Nintendo unlike Xbox did not do so well to cater to maturing tastes of the time.


If you look at the actual drop in marketshare, the Gamecube did not miss its target nearly as bad as the N64 or PS3 and is pretty in line with an Xbox One level underperformance.

Last edited by Otter - on 07 October 2020