updated 03:35 am EST, Sat November 19, 2011
Nintendo GameCube anniversary marks rocky history
A second console celebrated its tenth year alongside the Xbox Friday as the Nintendo GameCube marked its anniversary. The system was launched in North America on November 18, 2001, just a few days after the Microsoft Xbox. Unlike Sony's PS2 or Xbox, it had a rocky history and led some to wonder if Nintendo had lost relevance.
The console had classic titles such as Metroid Prime, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Pikmin, Eternal Darkness, and Super Mario Sunshine, all of which helped keep it afloat. Nintendo's decision to use a proprietary 1.5GB disc format and generally slower hardware than the Xbox, however, left it in an awkward position where it was neither the most advanced system nor usable for DVDs and other features beyond gaming.
Sales recovered when the system dropped to $99 on September 2003. The GameCube was also Nintendo's first system where it more openly encouraged games for older audiences, such as Resident Evil 4. Still, the system never significantly overtook both both because of development limitations as well as a tendency for success to ride on whether or not there was a new, Nintendo-made game to buy.
Worldwide, sales topped out at 21.74 million, or less than half that of the PS2.
The GameCube was quickly downlplayed once the far more successful Wii arrived, but the newer system maintained backwards compatibility with GameCube games up until late this year, when the $150 Wii- dropped the feature. The Wii itself is running an upgrade of the core architecture of the GameCube and will keep its legacy going until the Wii U we tested arrives, possibly for the holidays in 2012.