Nintendo announced last week that the console will go on sale in the United States on Nov 5, three days before Microsoft brings out its Xbox. The Xbox will sell for US$299, the same price as Sony's PlayStation 2.
Nintendo had been widely expected to come in below its two rivals on price, partly because the GameCube hardware is less complex and lacks features such as a hard drive or Ethernet ports. GameCube games will sell for US$50 each, a Nintendo representative said, comparable to PlayStation 2 titles.
Along with the price advantage, Nintendo is counting on an array of games featuring exclusive Nintendo characters such as Pokemon and the Mario Brothers to maintain its market position with younger players and families. The GameCube will also connect with Nintendo's upcoming Game Boy Advance to transfer game content, marking the first time Nintendo has tried to leverage its dominance of handheld gaming.
"It's a big competitive advantage for them," Gartner analyst PJ McNealy said of the GameCube price. "It's really going to help with the eight- to 15-year-old market, which has always been their strength. When kids start asking for a game machine, the price is going to help make that decision a lot easier for the parents."