Nintendo is traditionally recognized for releasing innovative first-party games, most notably from the Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda series. These first-party series continued on the GameCube and bolstered the console's popularity. As a publisher, Nintendo also focused on creating new franchises, such as Pikmin and 
Nintendo is traditionally recognized for releasing innovative first-party games, most notably from the Super Mario and Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda series. These first-party series continued on the GameCube and bolstered the console's popularity. As a publisher, Nintendo also focused on creating new franchises, such as Pikmin and Animal Crossing, and renewing some that skipped the Nintendo 64 platform, most notably the Metroid series with the release of Metroid Prime. The console also saw success with the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Super Mario Sunshine, and its best-selling game, Super Smash Bros. Melee, at 7 million copies worldwide. Though committed to its software library, however, Nintendo was still criticized for not featuring enough games during the console's launch window—a sentiment compounded by the release of Luigi's Mansion instead of a 3D Mario game.
Early in Nintendo's history, the company had achieved considerable success with third-party developer support on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES. Competition from the Sega Genesis and Sony's PlayStation in the 1990s changed the market's landscape, however, and reduced Nintendo's ability to obtain exclusive, third-party support on the Nintendo 64. The console's cartridge-based media was also increasing the cost to manufacture software, as opposed to the cheaper, higher-capacity optical discs used by the PlayStation.
With the GameCube, Nintendo intended to reverse the trend as evidenced by the number of third-party games available at launch. The new optical disc format introduced with the GameCube increased the capacity significantly and reduced production costs. The strategy mostly worked. High-profile exclusives such as Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader from Factor 5, Resident Evil 4 from Capcom, and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes from Konami were successful. Sega, which became a third-party developer after discontinuing its Dreamcast console, ported Dreamcast games such as Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure 2, and developed new franchises, such as Super Monkey Ball. Several third-party developers were contracted to work on new games for Nintendo franchises, including Star Fox Assault and Donkey Konga by Namco and Wario World from Treasure.
Eight GameCube games support network connectivity, five with Internet support and three with local area network (LAN) support. The only Internet capable games released in western territories are three role-playing games (RPGs) in Sega's Phantasy Star series: Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus, and Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution. The official servers were decommissioned in 2007, but players can still connect to fan maintained private servers. Japan received two additional games with Internet capabilities, a cooperative RPG, Homeland and a baseball game with downloadable content, Jikkyō Powerful Pro Yakyū 10. Lastly, three racing games have LAN multiplayer modes: 1080° Avalanche, Kirby Air Ride, and Mario Kart: Double Dash. These three games can be forced over the Internet with third-party PC software capable of tunneling the GameCube's network traffic.
To play online, players must install an official broadband or modem adapter in their system since the GameCube does not have out of the box network capabilities. Nintendo never commissioned any servers or Internet services to interface with the console, but allowed other publishers to do so and made them responsible for managing the online experiences for their games.
The GameCube received generally positive reviews following its launch. PC Magazine praised the overall hardware design and quality of games available at launch. CNET gave an average review rating, noting that while the console lacks a few features offered by its competition, it is relatively inexpensive, has a great controller design, and launched a decent lineup of games.broadband or modem adapter in their system since the GameCube does not have out of the box network capabilities. Nintendo never commissioned any servers or Internet services to interface with the console, but allowed other publishers to do so and made them responsible for managing the online experiences for their games.
The GameCube received generally positive reviews following its launch. PC Magazine praised the overall hardware design and quality of games available at launch. CNET gave an average review rating, noting that while the console lacks a few features offered by its competition, it is relatively inexpensive, has a great controller design, and launched a decent lineup of games. In later reviews, criticism mounted against the console often centering on its overall look and feel, describing it as "toy-ish." In the midst of poor sales figures and the associated financial harm to Nintendo, a Time International article called the GameCube an "unmitigated disaster."
Retrospectively, Joystiq compared the GameCube's launch window to its succ
Retrospectively, Joystiq compared the GameCube's launch window to its successor, the Wii, noting that the GameCube's "lack of games" resulted in a subpar launch, and the console's limited selection of online games damaged its market share in the long run. Time International concluded that the system had low sales figures, because it lacked "technical innovations".
In Japan, between 280,000 and 300,000 GameCube consoles were sold during the first three days of its sale, out of an initial shipment of 450,000 units. During its launch weekend, $100 million worth of GameCube products were sold in North America. The console was sold out in several stores, faster than initial sales of both of its competitors, the Xbox and the PlayStation 2. Nintendo reported that the most popular launch game is Luigi's Mansion, with more sales at its launch than Super Mario 64 had. Other popular games include Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader and Wave Race: Blue Storm. By early December 2001, 600,000 units had been sold in the US.
Nintendo sold 22 million GameCube units worldwide during
Nintendo sold 22 million GameCube units worldwide during its lifespan, placing it slightly behind the Xbox's 24 million, and well behind the PlayStation 2's 155 million. The GameCube's predecessor, the Nintendo 64, outperformed it as well, selling nearly 33 million units. The console was able to outsell the short-lived Dreamcast, however, which yielded 9.13 million unit sales. In September 2009, IGN ranked the GameCube 16th in its list of best gaming consoles of all time, placing it behind all three of its sixth-generation competitors: the PlayStation 2 (3rd), the Dreamcast (8th), and the Xbox (11th). As of March 31, 2003, 9.55 million GameCube units had been sold worldwide, falling short of Nintendo's initial goal of 10 million consoles.
Many of Nintendo's own first-party games, such as Super Smash Bros. Melee and Mario Kart: Double Dash, saw strong sales, though this did not typically benefit third-party developers or directly drive sales of their games. Many cross-platform games—such as sports franchises released by Electronic Arts—were sold in numbers far below their PlayStation 2 and Xbox counterparts, eventually prompting some developers to scale back or completely cease support for the GameCube. Exceptions include Sega's family friendly Sonic Adventure 2 and Super Monkey Ball, which reportedly yielded more sales on GameCube than most of the company's games on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. After several years of losing money from developing for Nintendo's console, Eidos Interactive announced in September 2003 that it would end support for the GameCube, canceling several games that were in development. Later, however, Eidos resumed development of GameCube games, releasing hit games such as Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and Tomb Raider: Legend. In addition, several third-party games originally intended to be GameCube exclusives—most notably Resident Evil 4—were eventually ported to other systems in an attempt to maximize profits following lackluster sales of the original GameCube versions.
In March 2003, now-defunct UK retailer Dixons removed all GameCube consoles, accessories and games from its stores. That same month, another UK retailer Argos, cut the price of the GameCube in their stores to £78.99, which was more than £50 cheaper than Nintendo's SRP for the console at the time.
With sales sagging and millions of unsold consoles in stock, Nintendo halted GameCube production for the first nine months of 2003 to reduce surplus units. Sales rebounded slightly after a price drop to US$99.99 on September 24, 2003 and the release of The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition bundle. A demo disc, the GameCube Preview Disc, was also released in a bundle in 2003. Beginning with this period, GameCube sales continued to be steady, particularly in Japan, but the GameCube remained in third place in worldwide sales during the sixth-generation era because of weaker sales performance elsewhere.
Iwata forecasted to investors that the company would sell 50 million GameCube units worldwide by March 2005, but by the end of 2006, it had only sold 21.7 million—fewer than half.
With the GameCube, Nintendo failed to reclaim the market share lost by its predecessor, the Nintendo 64. Throughout the lifespan of its console generation, GameCube hardware sales remained far behind its direct competitor the PlayStation 2, and slightly behind the Xbox. The console's "family-friendly" appeal and lack of support from certain third-party developers skewed the GameCube toward a younger market, which was a minority demographic of the gaming population during the sixth generation. Many third-party games popular with teenagers or adults, such as the blockbuster Grand Theft Auto series and several key first-person shooters, skipped the GameCube entirely in favor of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.