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Former Nintendo Executive Explains Why GameCube Failed to Compete with Xbox and PS2

Published 11/19/2021, 3:00 PM EST

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The year 2021 has been full of anniversaries and Nintendo GameCube is marking its 20th year in North America. Nintendo released GameCube back in 2001 and it failed miserably. But, Nintendo learned a lot from their mistakes. Recently, a former Nintendo executive recalled the reason behind the failure of the classic GameCube console.

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Though the console wasn’t as successful as Nintendo’s most recent console, the Switch, it did, however, have an impact on the gaming industry. That said, it failed to compete with the likes of Xbox and PlayStation 2.


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The console performed very badly on the market, resulting in Nintendo suffering losses. However, it’s not a complete failure because it led to the foundation of the games that we enjoy today. In fact, it was GameCube that introduced some iconic games like Animal Crossing, Super Mario, Resident Evil, and many more to gamers worldwide.

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The reason behind the GameCube failure was its limited features because there was no online gaming or third-party support during the early 2000s. According to Martin Hollis, the console was not unique enough as compared to its competitors, like PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Martin Hollis is a developer who worked for Nintendo in America in 1999. He was a part of the consulting team for ‘Project Dolphin’ which was later on developed into the GameCube.

Former Nintendo employees’ opinion on GameCube

Martin threw some light on Nintendo N94 which was also a disaster. According to Martin, the reason behind N94 failure was it didn’t have a CD drive. So they learned from this mistake and added a CD drive to the GameCube console, but it was just not enough. Here’s what Martin says according to the VGC:

“The handle and the idea of carrying it from house to house, I think could have been great, but we just couldn’t think of a way to make that a big deal… I never really felt like we made a success out of the handle. It was just nice to have, and that’s it.”


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Dawn Paine, who was a marketing director for Nintendo, had this to say regarding the GameCube’s failure to compete with Xbox and PS.


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With hindsight I don’t think we should’ve been trying to go after the same audience [as Xbox and PS2], going head-to-head against competitors who had squarely positioned 16-34-year-old products and who ours maybe didn’t chime as much with.”

It looks like Nintendo failed to market this product right. The USP of this console was its portability that fans could play their favorite games anywhere. If the company would have focused on the USP and marketed it in the right way, maybe they could have succeeded in making the GameCube more successful than it was.

Comment down and let us know what do you think about this console?


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Written by:

Swetabh Shekhar


One take at a time

Swetabh Shekhar is an eSports author at EssentiallySports and holds a Master's degree in Mass Communication. He has been playing video games since his childhood days and has witnessed the evolution of the gaming industry. GTA, Assassins Creed, Call of Duty, and The Walking Dead are some of his all-time favorites.
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