BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Entertainment: New Media
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Sunday, 18 November, 2001, 11:43 GMT
GameCube launches in US
GameCube, AP
Fans get in some practice at a promotion event
Games enthusiasts in the United States have finally got their hands on Nintendo's long-awaited GameCube.

More than 700,000 of the new GameCube systems were distributed around the US in anticipation of what Nintendo expected to be a big rush.

It has been five years since Nintendo last launched a video game console in the US.

Nintendo hopes the GameCube - the company's most powerful console to date - will fend off competition from other games hardware on the market, particularly Microsoft's Xbox which launched on Thursday.

The console is expected to appeal to a younger age group, so giving it a strong position in the market in the run-up to Christmas.

X-Box, AP
The Xbox went on sale in the US last week
Peter Main, executive vice president, sales and marketing, for Nintendo of America, said he was confident the GameCube would sell.

"Nintendo is the only manufacturer in the world solely dedicated to creating the world's best interactive entertainment," said Mr Main.

"And because Nintendo GameCube isn't concerned with duplicating the DVD, CD player or computer you already own, we haven't had to compromise the quality of our software or the affordability of our hardware."

Age group

Compared with other consoles, the GameCube's $199 price tag is competitive. This makes it $100 less than the Xbox and Sony's PlayStation 2.

In terms of functionality, Nintendo describes its product as an advanced luxury toy, unlike Microsoft's and Sony's all-in-one entertainment systems.

Nintendo has built its name on characters such as Mario BBC
Nintendo has built its name on characters such as Mario
Xbox and PlayStation 2 are both aimed at young adults while the GameCube is likely to appeal more to children aged six to 14.

This age group has always been Nintendo's prime market, one which has made the company's famed Mario game an all-time favourite.

Fifteen titles have been made available for the GameCube for its US launch, although Mario will not go on sale until the summer.

The only Mario-related game on sale at present is Luigi's Mansion, a game featuring Mario's brother, Luigi.


Still, GameCube has been so anticipated that before launch two of its games had made the top 10 list of the most wanted games in the US.

The GameCube has been selling well online in the US and shops reported good advanced sales of the console.

GameCube, Nintendo
GameCube: Shops report good advance sales
Trip Hawkins, chief executive of video game publisher 3DO Co and a game industry specialist, said: "The GameCube is a very well-positioned machine that will be the ideal kids' Christmas present for the next few years."

Nintendo said it aimed to make around 1.1 million GameCubes available by the end of the year.

But some analysts expect that number to reach 1.2 million or 1.3 million as Nintendo struggles to keep up with demand.

The GameCube was originally set to launch in the US on 5 November.

In September, Nintendo announced it was postponing it to 18 November to ensure it had enough units available at launch.


Despite the optimism in the US, sales of the GameCube in Japan have been weaker than expected, since its launch there two months ago.

Analysts blame the slowness both on the timing of the console's launch, which came before the Christmas shopping season, and the lack of a hit title.

Despite its slower start in Japan, many analysts see GameCube outperforming the Xbox, which goes on sale in Japan in February.

See also:

13 Sep 01 | New Media
GameCube hit by attack fears
14 Sep 01 | New Media
GameCube launches in Japan
29 Mar 01 | Business
Microsoft's X-Box goes online
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more New Media stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more New Media stories