The GameCube wasn’t a massive success when it launched in 2001, but has gathered a cult-like following over the past decade or so. Because of its unique design and the fact that Nintendo competed directly against Sony for the last time in the 6th generation, GameCube games are highly sought after. Because GameCube games were released in lower numbers compared to the PS2 and Xbox, finding cheap copies on the used market can be tough.
Why are Gamecube games so expensive? It is a combination of low print numbers for some games and the fact that Nintendo rarely lowers official prices. Post-2020, there were more people looking to play retro games during the pandemic season which raised the prices even further.
If you take a look at consoles like GameCube and PS Vita, they weren’t as popular as their competition. And many of their games were printed in fairly limited numbers because there were fewer console owners. Nintendo’s old games rarely go down in price, because that’s how Nintendo maintains its brand value- and this inflates prices on the used market.
Why Are Gamecube Games So Expensive?
It’s a combination of various factors. Firstly, GameCube games didn’t sell as many copies as Xbox or PS2 games. Sure, you had exclusives like Super Smash Bros. Melee and Mario Kart: Double Dash that sold over 6 million units each.
But when the 6th best-selling PS2 game (GTA III) ships more units than your number 1 seller, you know you lost. And Nintendo did lose that generation, from a commercial standpoint. There were several GameCube games that were released only in certain regions.
For some games, only thousands of copies were printed instead of millions. And because the console is over two decades old at this point, a significant portion of those original copies no longer exist. Some were lost, and others got irreparably damaged.
Of what few are left and not in the hands of gamers, a portion makes it to the used market. And the best ones are generally grabbed by professional resellers or collectors. So you either get a scratched-up disc for really cheap prices or a rare boxed game with the manuals for an extremely high price.
Things are complicated further by Nintendo’s approach to brand marketing. They never reduce official prices on original copies of old games. The only time Nintendo will reduce prices on old games is when they resell digital versions of them on new consoles.
Because of this, used game prices are inflated even further. The recent pandemic didn’t help things either, with millions of people around the world looking to indulge in some nostalgia while locked up inside their houses.
What Is The Highest-Selling GameCube Game?
The best-selling GameCube game of all time is Super Smash Bros. Melee with 7.41 million copies sold. It’s a crossover fighting game from HAL Laboratory that features characters from multiple first-party Nintendo franchises (as well as some third-party games). For comparison, the best-selling PS2 game is GTA: San Andreas with 17.33 million copies sold.
Will GameCubes Be Worth Money?
If you’re talking about the console, then no- GameCubes aren’t worth much on the used market these days. Unless you own a boxed unit that has never been opened, in which case it can fetch over 400 dollars. But that is the case with any collector item that has been kept in good condition or never unboxed.
An Xbox (the original one) or PS2 that is still factory-sealed will also fetch extremely high prices. There are listings on eBay for brand new PS2s that go above 700 dollars. Used GameCubes can also fetch good money if they’re well-maintained and come bundled with extra controllers + games.
Some people sell their GameCubes along with original controllers and memory cards for good prices. Throw in some rare games, and you’re looking at upwards of 500 bucks. Limited edition controllers and colors mean you can expect to pay even more.
Rarest Games On GameCube
As I mentioned earlier, some GameCube games were released in extremely limited numbers during their original run. And because the console has aged so well, they now command a high price on the used market. Chibi-Robo is a nice example, you can expect to pay over $200 for a decent copy of this game.
Skies of Arcadia Legends is a popular JRPG among GameCube collectors. Even incomplete copies with missing manuals and scratches can cost nearly 100 bucks. Brand-new is well over 250 if you can manage to find one.
Was GameCube A Successful Console?
By all commercial metrics known to us, it wasn’t a successful console. It sold fewer units than the PS2 and Xbox. Nintendo generally wins out in software sales, even if it loses the hardware battle.
But that wasn’t the case with the GameCube, as both Xbox and PS2 helped ship more games. The GameCube didn’t get many 3rd party titles like GTA, Splinter Cell, Star Wars: Battlefront II, etc. It also lacked any meaningful online functionality, and you couldn’t play regular DVDs.
Average Lifespan Of A GameCube
Officially, GameCube was discontinued in 2007. Which is one year after Nintendo launched its Wii console. But there are GameCube consoles alive and kicking to this day, with discs spinning in their trays.
An entire fan community exists, dedicated to GameCube gaming in the modern era. Peripherals like the Kaico OSSC are geared toward retro enthusiasts who want a seamless experience with modern HDTVs.
The GameCube was built tough and has a robust design that helps it last for decades. As long as you clean out the dust and don’t run it too frequently, your GameCube from over 15 years ago can keep working for another decade (or two).
I hope this article helped you understand why GameCube games are so expensive these days. It is primarily due to the recent pandemic and Nintendo’s policy on how they market old games. Nintendo never offers a discount on original physical copies, nor do they put out digital re-releases for modern gamers.
As a result, prices for old Nintendo games are artificially bloated compared to old PS2 and Xbox games. Plus, Nintendo takes care never to call its new Mario and Zelda games “better” than the old ones. Because of how Nintendo games are styled, they tend to age very well.