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Games Entertainment

Gamecube Hits US Early 584

semaj writes "It looks like retailers are being told they can sell them as they come in instead of waiting for the November 18 offical release date. PlanetGameCube has the story. Go!" So, anyone want to get us a review unit or two?
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Gamecube Hits US Early

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  • WEll... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shpoffo ( 114124 )
    looks liek i know where i'm going on my lunch break......

  • Very clever... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bill the Cat ( 19523 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:53PM (#2558844)
    ...of Nintendo, in the attempt to get a jump on the xbox.

    Of course, they might have been planning this all along.

    I wonder what other interesting marketing tricks msft and nintendo have in store for each other.
    • Re:Very clever... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @01:09PM (#2558947) Homepage
      ...of Nintendo, in the attempt to get a jump on the xbox. Of course, they might have been planning this all along. I wonder what other interesting marketing tricks msft and nintendo have in store for each other.

      Well, while it doesn't explain why Xbox games are already on the shelf, it does explain why GameCube games were shipping rather early. My local MallWart has Super Monkey Ball, Wave Race, Luigi's Mansion, and Rogue Leader in stock right now, and has had them for a week already.

      It seems like a really good way to counter all the Xbox hype - Xbox launches with what seems to be half of its original units (~350K), and the GameCube strikes by launching four days early and with DOUBLE the number of units. Too bad it couldn't launch with double the number of games, but as far as that goes, it can work both ways.

      If your console launches by itself with 20 games, then the perception is that you're launching with that many games because ten or fifteen suck titles will make the other five or ten look REALLY good. Launching against a competitor, however...Launching with more games seems to display market confidence.

      I'm worried. I'm no fanboy, but I want Nintendo to win here because I think Microsoft has tainted enough marketspace as it is...
      • Re:Very clever... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Boone^ ( 151057 )
        Well, while it doesn't explain why Xbox games are already on the shelf, it does explain why GameCube games were shipping rather early.

        The PS2 launch was painful not only for the lack of hardware, but for the intermittant lack of software too. Those wanting Madden 2001 with their PS2 couldn't get one on opening day because they were in relatively short supply. No one thought that 80% of PS2 owners also wanted to be Madden 2001 owners. So, MS and Nintendo are planning on solving this by having the software out there first so the only thing people need to worry about is grabbing the hardware. Besides, if there is a shortage, already owning DoA3 will keep you from buying a Gamecube instead out of frustration.

        I'm not sure I care who wins, but I'm not going to attempt to make a statement like you are. I'll probably get an XBox because MS seems willing to put their weight (and $$) behind it. The Console Wars of 2002 are all about the games. If you want Nintendo to win, it should be because they've got better games, not because they're not Microsoft.

        • Re:Very clever... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @02:12PM (#2559375) Homepage Journal

          I think what Cutriss was saying is that he prefers competition to exist in the console market as opposed to microsoft exploiting its monopoly to take over the market.

          I'll probably get an XBox because MS seems willing to put their weight (and $$) behind it.

          I think this is what Cutriss and I are afraid of. History has demonstrated that microsoft putting its 'weight (and $$) behind' something doesn't necessarily mean a benefit for consumers. In the console arena, this is going to mean more titles exclusively released for the xBOx, plain and simple. Would console gaming have been a better place if Tony Hawk Pro Skater had ONLY been released on the PlayStation? Is microsoft going to work with developers to help them make more games better, or will they work with developers to stifle releases on other platforms?

          Here's a probable tactic that is a page right out of Bill Gates' playbook.

          1. Offer to waive development fees and licensing for any titles released exclusively for the xBOx.
          2. Over time, it will become 'more expensive' for developers to release a title on other systems because those console manufacturers' business model is based on licensing revenue for each title sold on their platform.
          3. microsoft can afford to not make money from licensing for many years and can hold out while the other console manufacturers have their 'air supply cut off.'
          4. After other console makers pull out of the market, microsoft raises their licensing rates for developers and owns the marketplace.
          5. Bling-Bling.

          The thing that has most bothered me recently with microsoft is that this is a company that doesn't have to partner with shit. They don't have to build alliances. If any other company wants to build a standard for their product to work, they've got to go out and convince a bunch of other companies to sign on with them. You'll usually see Adobe, Sun, Oracle listed in announcements for whatever XYZ web publishing standard a company is promoting. Since when did microsoft ever go out and say, "Here's this new thing, and all these other companies are really excited about it, and they've already committed to support it."? Take the .NET offensive. They just announce this thing and say, "Well, this is the way we've decided things are going to be. Get used to it."
  • Looks like someone is a little scared of coming out after the XBOX on Thursday. Will be interesting to see which ends up with a larger q4 sales.
    • Will be interesting to see which ends up with a larger q4 sales.

      C'mon, they haven't even announced any console ports of quake IV yet; how can you be worried about sales figures?

    • Insightful, but for the fact that Nintendo have always had a relaxed policy to release dates. This happened with the N64, for example, and I don't think they were exactly petrified about XBox then...
  • by Control-Z ( 321144 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:56PM (#2558868)
    Sure it's neat, but save some money and get a Dreamcast. You can buy DCs on Ebay all day for $40. It has some great games like DOA2, Soul Caliber, NBA2K1, Crazy Taxi (a classic), and Shenmue.

    The games are from $5 to $25 on Ebay.

    • by A Commentor ( 459578 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @01:06PM (#2558931) Homepage
      You can also get a N64, Nintendo SNES, Sega Saturn, or Sega Genesis really cheap...


    • Long live Dreamcast! (Score:3, Informative)

      by 13Echo ( 209846 )
      Sure, I may get one of these newer consoles eventually. But who can deny the coolness of the Dreamcast. There is so much outside development going on for the little machine (emulation, linux, BSD, etc.) that there is still a lot going on for it. Before I buy any new consoles, I need to finish playing my 50+ Dreamcast games. Retail stores are closing out on Dreamcast software. Some of it is so/so, but most of it is great. There is something out there for all gamers and the prices are just right. It's too bad that little box didn't last, as the hardware abd games are still awesome. It's time for me to pick up a second machine for my computer desk.
    • I'm kind of tired of hearing the bleeding-heart Dreamcast fa... err, well, come to think of it, I got a new one myself for $85 including a 2nd controller and memory card. Must have my SC fix. But a DC is not a good investment for console gaming in the long term. The PS2 sounds like the system that will last the longest in this generation.
  • Not in my area (Score:3, Informative)

    by TomatoMan ( 93630 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:56PM (#2558871) Homepage Journal
    I called Wal-mart, KayBee Toys, Media Play, and K-Mart, and they're all sticking to the November 18 date. Some retailers don't even know about the "early release" part.

    Shall we slashdot the stores that have them, in meatspace? Post one here and start a rush! :P
  • by NTSwerver ( 92128 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:58PM (#2558883) Journal

    It has much better features []
  • Request. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @01:02PM (#2558902)

    Please people - remember be kind to your local software/electronics store employees. This is likely to be a long week for quite a few of them with unaware management.


    Ryan Fenton
  • not around here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by egomaniac ( 105476 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @01:06PM (#2558923) Homepage
    I called all around, and not a single retailer had any idea what I was talking about. They all planned to stick to the 18th, and found it amusing that I was even asking if they would be selling early.

    This seems to be the case pretty much everywhere, as I've been surfing Usenet and various message boards trying to find out where these alleged stores are. As far as I can tell, they don't exist -- not one person has posted credible information about a store selling GameCubes *anywhere*. Not one.

    I have a feeling the date will get broken, but it hasn't been so far. I would love to be proven wrong -- if anybody knows of a store in the SF Bay Area which is selling GameCubes, speak up!

  • ... at my local Wal-Mart they had a GameCube "kiosk" going (xbox, too). You couldn't buy one (they probably didn't even have them), but you could see what it was like. The kid at the controls was playing Mario-whatever - it looked really good. Nobody was messing with the xbox controller, so I took it over. Lots of demos listed. Of course I immediately went to Halo. There's so many buttons on the damn controller, I couldn't figure out how to get it to start playing the game so I figured it was just a movie-type demo (preview) and I ended up trying the Oddworld demo instead (not bad). Later, while I was at the mall, at an Electronics Boutique, I watched some kid playing Halo (doh!). He didn't know what he was doing (at least he figured out how to start it!), but it didn't matter. It was fantastic. Just comparing Halo to Mario-whatever, xbox wins, hands-down.
  • Seeing as both the PS2 and X-box are DVD players, I still don't understand why Nintendo elected to go with the 3 inch disc instead. If/when I decide to buy one of them, it'll definitely have an impact on my choice.
    • Coming Soon. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ian_Bailey ( 469273 )
      You want the Panasonic version [] due out in a few months in Japan, and probably sometime next year in North America.
    • Because a surprisingly high number of the sales of PlayStation 2s in Japan was by people who wanted a DVD player. And companies lose money on the hardware, and make money selling the games. Buying for DVD capability = not buying games = no money.
      • They had to have had at least a couple games in mind - My guess is that they bought it when it came out for the DVD player, but were really waiting for FFx and other games to come out.

        Think about it, would you buy a $299 DVD Player/Game Machine for just DVDs when you could buy a standalone DVD player with more features for $200?

        -- Dr. Eldarion --
    • why Nintendo elected to go with the 3 inch disc instead.

      Nintendo isen't in the video game business for popularity, they are in it to make money. The 3 inch disks help with copy protection, and Nintendo wants you to use their system to by $50 Nintendo games, and not buy $12 DVD's from Sony/Universal/MGM etc.

      Take a look at Nintendo's dicision to use a cartridge format for the N64: A lot of people don't realise, that although the N64 lost the popularity race to the PS1, they made vast quantities of money due to the relative lack of piracy, and the fact that the N64 sold a lot of 1st party Nintendo-produced games.

      Nintendo doesen't view Microsoft and Sony as their real competition - their competition is Disney.

      So yes, the 3" disk is bad from a consumer standpoint, but it makes all the sense in the world for Nintendo. If you reall want a GameCube/DVD player check out the Panasonic version: []
  • With the price of PC hardware falling (I speced out a Ghz Athlon machine for a friend with a 486[!] for around $500 on Pricewatch), are systems that cost $200-$300 for a base system really going to be worth it to people? Especially considering games are more and more brought out on every major platform (Sega's new strategy), will we see a phaseout of stand alone consoles (or at least a price drop to make them more appealing to people spending a little more to get a full blown computer)?

    Maybe this is more of an Ask Slashdot question...

    • It happens every time. PC gamers are fundamentally in the dark when it comes to seeing why consoles are different than PCs. Are console gamers the /only/ people who actually like to /sit in the room/ with /other people/ when they play?

      See what I'm getting at? Nothing beats a good 4 player game of [Bomberman/MarioCart/Etc/Etc..], and I've never seen that done on one PC. (LAN parties and cybercafes are the exception here, but still too uncommon.)

      Also, consoles have more:

      - side scrollers (still fun, I dont care what anyone says)
      - fighting games (despite SF2 being on the biggest fighters ever, it never had a hope on the PC, even despite a low profile port back in the day)
      - other types of games

      PC gamers also forget that not all game designers think alike. This is why I think XBox will fail. MS has gotten so many PC'esque dev houses on board, and not realized that the market for those types of games is, by and large, already hooked up with a perfectly good gaming PC.

      I, for one, have a kick ass gaming PC and RAQuake myself to sleep every night, but I'm tired of playing alone .. thus, I will pick up the gamecube so my friends and I actually have something to /do/ while we drink 'n smoke in the livingroom.
  • by dda ( 527064 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @01:33PM (#2559105) Homepage
    To spend money in a new gaming machine is always dangerous, even with a famous company such as Nintendo.
    • Even if the hardware is good :
    • you don't know if the development will be good (remember the first PS2 games),
    • you don't know if its presence on the market will be sufficient to have a good game offer
    I'd rather prefer to wait some weeks after its diffusion to know if it's good enough to spend my money in (of course if everybody is doing like that it will never happen :)) I think we can trust Nintendo, but having to see if the PS2 was good enough for me, I've bought one, and don't find it uselful to have two consoles of the "same" generation.
    Maybe I'm paranoid or "geeky-minded" enough, but at least I'm really happy with my choices doing it this way.
  • by shadowcabbit ( 466253 ) <(cx) (at) (> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @01:34PM (#2559112) Journal
    The word at EB is that if we break street date on ANY new product (not just GCN, but MGS2, X-Box, or the like) we (the company, and most likely the individual store) get fined $100K. The reason for this is that when you spend millions on an ad crusade fixated on one date and the (game/machine/widget) comes out early, the campaign is immediately wasted. (Nintendo/Microsoft/Konami) doesn't want their entire ad budget to go down the toilet all at once, so they impose these fines. It may be strongarm tactics, but hell, it's not like it's price fixing or something worse. I say if they want to build suspense-- and that's exactly the reason for street dates-- then let them.
    Besides, it's not like there're really going to be any left for walk-in sales anyway...
    • From my experience at a music/video store, product usually gets to the store ~1 week before release. If a distributor finds you stocking your shelves with it early they'll often "punish" you by not sending the merchandise early next time, perhaps waiting until the release date or slightly after to send you the new merchandise.
    • by Fjord ( 99230 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @02:09PM (#2559354) Homepage Journal
      From the article:
      Nintendo has started shipping GameCubes. (YES!) This is a week earlier than was anticipated. While some stores claim to have been told by their corporate liasons to Nintendo that they will be fined if they sell early, this appears to not be the case.

      Nintendo has told us that stores are free to sell the GameCube as soon as it arrives, in order to get a jump on the X-Box launching on Thursday. They also said that no store would be fined for breaking the release date.

      There's actually a lot of really good information in the article.
    • Entirely correct, as a fellow EB employee (at least on the weekends). The list of 'street dates' for DVDs in particular is religiously held to. While most game companies allow EB to sell a game that ships early, consoles and DVDs are kept in back locked up. Hell, people can pick up their GCN and X-Box games, and have been able to buy them for days... it's just the console that's been sitting in the back.

      I've had customers offer me bribes to get various things (like the Godfather DVD set) early.

      Also, your point about having none left is entirely correct. We 'sold out' of GCN weeks ago, and 'sold out' of X-Box preorders months ago. The same thing happened with the PS2 last year, and DC before that... people never seem to learn that they need to preorder these things. The only way to really get an X-Box now is to camp out at a store that doesn't take preorders Wednesday night, or pay a fortune on EBay.

      In reference to your other post [], our GM is buying us a few cases of Red Bull for Thursday. Encourage your GM to do the same!
  • Sure, Hemos, I'll get you a test unit. Just mail me a check for $225, and I'll run right out and get one for you. Heck, for an extra $50, I'll even keep it for a few weeks and do all of the testing for you.
  • by InfinityWpi ( 175421 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @01:45PM (#2559193)
    From employees in two different chains in Salem, NH: They are not allowed to sell early. in fact, Nintendo has a special hotline set up to report stores that are selling early, and the sales reps for those stores will get fired if the thing is sold early.

    Dunno if this is out-of-date bullshit or up-to-the-minute rumor-quashing... doesn't mean I won't check the stores at my local mall when I get home.
  • for Halo on the mac.

    Until then I'll have to (here it comes) console myself until then.

  • by smack_attack ( 171144 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @02:04PM (#2559317) Homepage
    First off, let me tell you that I am biased, I have a PS2 and about 15 games (and about 30 or so PS1 games). That said, I am not looking to buy either a X-Box or Gamecube.

    Ok, now that I have that off my chest, I would like to declare the current state of affairs in the gaming world:

    The lineup.
    - PS2 has already won among those 16+ (adult gamers).

    - Nintendo will always win with kids under 16 because it's their parents who buy it for them. Nintendo is going to trounce X-Box in X-mas sales.

    - MS has a place, but it's a shame that for now it's going to be last. X-box reminds me of Nader, because you know he's not going to win, but he's going to take votes away from someone else. in this case, taking sales away from PS2. X-Box is the other console geared at 16+ crowds.

    For the sake of brevity, I'm going to leave Gamecube out of the rest of this discussion, Nintendo knows their target audience and how to market to them, bravo for them, they aren't going out of business anytime soon. X-Box however has a LONG road to travel, uphill, in snow. The PS2 is already beginning to release 2nd generation titles and is slated to release additional hardware/mods to their console soon (I believe it was Q1 2002, if anyone knows the exact timing, let me know). X-Box has still yet to prove itself as a worthy contendor to any console.

    Christmas shoppers and Terrorists.
    Another blow to the X-Box is also their strong selling point, games geared towards adults. Well, a year ago, many parents might have turned a blind eye to video game violence that their kids ingested, but now we have evil terrorists and we have to protect the children. Chalk that round up to Gamecube and their family oriented games.

    The conclusion.
    Gamecube will take the sales lead this season, with *gasp* X-Box right behind them. Sales of games for PS2 will be astronomical though as many buyers are now asking for titles instead of units.
  • I'm the kind of person who didn't believe Episode I was coming out until I purchased a ticket, so I'm not holding my breath.

    After calling some local places and a Nintendo rep, I'm not so sure of this rumor either. As near as anyone I can talk to, it appears as though this is a rumor *only*. Most stores I've talked to *do* have Luigi's Mansion in, but they aren't allowed to sell them until the 18th.

    If this does turn out to be true, I'd like someone to post a copy of the receipt/image of the box somewhere for proof. As near as I can determine...not yet.

    Of course, I could be wrong.
  • I just came back from a spree of hitting all of the stores nearby (I work near a major mall in Atlanta, so I was able to hit them all on my lunch break.) Most of them laughed at me when I asked, except for the Walmart. Now, I'm not too sure if the guy was BS'ing me or not, but he said they were selling some (it was rumored they were at another store) but once they heard the story was posted here they stopped selling them voluntarily, so they would still have some leftover for the official launch on Sunday.

    First time I've ever heard of the Slashdot Effect on a brick and mortor store, that's for sure.
  • by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <.gro.ognats. .ta. .todhsals.> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @05:24PM (#2560309) Homepage Journal
    IIRC, Sega began selling its ill-fated Saturn in a surprise, early release before the PlayStation debuted in the U.S. They did this at least in selected markets, because I bought one in Philadelphia the day they went on sale (I really liked Virtua Fighter). It could be argued that Sega, then a reigning home-system champ with the Genesis, was nervous about a newcomer and wanted to grab a market foothold.

    Seems like Nintendo is now the nervous incumbent, trying to grab the bucks of people dying for a next-gen system and willing to buy the first one that comes out, and who will be unable to afford to buy a competitor's subsequently-released system.


The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.