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What went wrong and why did the GameCube fail against the Xbox?

Romulus

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GC and Xbox had alot of great games but there was a perception that ps2 had so many more and that is partly true. If you were going for power, the xbox had the CPU, GPU, and RAM above the competition, and it had a fucking harddrive in 2001, a first. And developers used it. It got open world games like Morrowind, Far Cry, huge scale with splitscreen in some cases. 720p native console games in 2003 on occasion too.
 

SSfox

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Both didn't have enough great exclusives imo, they had some still of course, but not even close amount of great exclusive compare to PS2, between gc and xbox tho for me there were certainly more games i was into in game cube compare to Xbox, for Xbox it was Ninja Gaiden, i loved DOA3 and DOAU tho this franchise wasn't at Tekken and VF level, but it was the best era of DOA franchise. For game cube it had RE rebirth, RE0, Zelda WW, and of certainly RE4, even tho the game came later on PS2 with even much more content, but i remember how this game was so huge, RE4 alone would justify buying CG for it.

PS2 i'd rather not even start, Tekken, MGS, GT, Ico, SOTC, DMC, Okami, God Hand, Haunting Ground, GOW1&2, VF4EVO, and a LOT of other super iconic and awesome games. Can't name them all cause i would stay here all night naming thos games. With all that PS2 had also by far the best controller in most genre, specially fighting games.
 
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Romulus

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Xbox got a lot of PC games most people don't even know about. They didn't even port them to the other consoles, and it got lots of sega and in house xbox stuff. Very underrated. GC was all around great too.
 

Goro Majima

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Wow I haven’t seen a GCN vs Xbox argument since the IGN boards in like 2002. It’s weird looking back but that was the only debate worth having since the PS2 was just dominating.

For me personally, the Gamecube took a reputation hit when it had a very dry spell between the release of Smash Brothers and Eternal Darkness which was a span of about 7 months in 2002. I was a total Gamecube hype man in my friend groups but the absence of GTA3 made it a hard sell at the time. At best I could talk peolle

Also I had a lot more Xbox games by the end of that generation because the games looked a whole lot better so all multiplatform games I bought for that system. The PS2 and Gamecube became purely something for exclusives which wasn’t a problem for the PS2 at all. The Gamecube though? Basically became a Nintendo exclusive box especially since the Capcom 5 all got ported (or cancelled...). Tales of Symphonia and Skies of Arcadia were great though!

Weirdly it’s the Gamecube versions of games that are ultra expensive now and the Xbox versions are all very, very affordable. Ah well, better for me!
 

Captain Toad

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again, the surprise is that it sold better than the GameCube and got better third party support than the GameCube. the PS2 and PS1 are a non factor here.
It sold 2 million more, but still bombed. I disagree with the third-party comment. GameCube got some great third-party games, especially from Capcom.
 

Iced Arcade

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Small disks and ignorance against online.

Owned all 3 consoles that gen and both the cube and xbox spanked PS2 but the PS2 had a that headstart and monsterous 3rd party exclusive grip.
 
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StateofMajora

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I wish the small disc theory would die ; there's a bigger difference between ps3 blu ray and a 360 disc than a gamecube disc and a Ps2 DVD. Obviously the more space the better, but it wasn't a huge deterrent for developers or really made a significant difference in any game's content.

Got to the point on 360 where 2 discs became normal, usually to hold the multiplayer. Treyarch said COD was limited in its textures because of 360's space. Single player action games like Castlevania needed 2 discs even. Why? Because it was a ps3 lead game ; imagine how many games were lead 360 and could have had more unique assets with bigger storage media.

Point being, 360 was a huge success despite storage limits. Gamecube had a demographic problem.

EDIT : Most you could argue was the lack of actual DVD movie playback was an issue in terms of sales, but not a game issue.
 
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MastAndo

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Stupid console design, stupid disc format, lack of 3rd party support. Basically, Nintendo being too Nintendo-y.
 

Captain Toad

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The question really should be why did the GameCube AND the Xbox both bomb so hard? Claiming a victory at second place with the scores 155 million, 24 million and 22 million is really reaching.
 

Jaxcellent

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That's the power of a system seller game: Halo Combat evolved. It was new, it was fresh, it had playable couch co-up and multiplayer, and me and my buddies hooked it up to xbox connect before xbox live was born.. then when i moved to my dorm a few years later, xbox was everywhere, we hooked up Xboxes on LAN parties all the time it was great.
 

Romulus

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The question really should be why did the GameCube AND the Xbox both bomb so hard? Claiming a victory at second place with the scores 155 million, 24 million and 22 million is really reaching.

Xbox was brand new though, with absolutely zero install base of fans. PS1 and a couple of others have come out swinging but it's normal to take a couple of generations to build up. I feel like GC was good enough to sell 80 million easily.
 
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cartman414

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Stubborn= code for cheap and lazy

Whuh? The Cube was easiest to develop for and punched well above its weight.

Granted the minidiscs were smaller, but the only thing proprietary about them was the filesystem. They were as cheap to produce as standard discs, and loaded a lot faster.

The XBox was more a play to get into the arena, their actual next move being the 360. The XBox was made of off the shelf parts that couldn't be die shrunk, hence the money lost per unit and limited time on the market.
 
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I think people just grew out of Nintendo games during those years , they wanted something more mature hence why ps2 and xbox were the leaders, darker more mature games were offered on thos 2 consoles , Nintendo tried with the exclusives like Reremake and Re0 , by then they were too far gone
 

Trimesh

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I meant the weird mini disc thing they had in the game cube. What's up with a DVD?

The GC discs basically are 12cm DVDs - they have a few slight tweaks to the channel data format to impede copying them with a DVD burner, but from a hardware perspective they are just DVDs. If you mean "why didn't they use standard sized DVDs and make the unit DVD-Video capable" then it's probably the same reason that MS made the Xbox not DVD capable out of the box, which is that (especially back then) there was a lot of expensive stuff you had to license if you wanted to build a DVD player (MS had a clever workaround for this - they basically made the remote control receiver the key for the DVD playback functions, so the license fees could be associated with a high-margin accessory item rather than the very low margin main console).
 

Naked Lunch

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Xbox simply had better games.
Of course Halo was big but it also had stuff like Street Fighter III and Capcom vs SNK 2 (plus SVC Chaos) - and they were online.
Ninja Gaiden was king of action games back then. (and actually still might be)
Not to mention Xbox had Sega classics like Panzer Dragoon Orta and Outrun 2.

I still like both consoles and to this day Gamecube still has a big trump card over any other console: F-Zero GX.
 
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WoodyStare

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Still play my GameCube, great little console with a great library of games (prices have gotten out of hand though). Shame it didn’t sell well. At least the exclusives have been emulated.
 

dcx4610

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Living through it, it was the lack of 3rd party support, the mini disc format and Nintendo being Nintendo.

I remember being excited when it came out and the fact that it was powerful. In fact, it was the last time Nintendo tried to actually compete in hardware and specs with the competition. The problem was that 3rd parties had already moved on to Sony and Microsoft was enticing to them because they were new and offered incentives. Meanwhile, Nintendo was still being draconian with their licensing and still had the kiddy image which hit home further when games like Metal Gear and Resident Evil didn't do well. So at that point, 3rd parties didn't even want to bother porting games over.

I loved the GameCube but the Xbox was the most powerful system of the generation and is where I got my multiplats. I avoided the PS2 outside of exclusives.
 

99Luffy

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I actually think the memory cards were 70% of the reason the gamecube flopped. EA sports games in particular either took an entire 59 card or required the newer memory card 251s to fit one save file. And the cards werent that much cheaper than the PS2 cards with had 10x the space.
 
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TheKratos

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Honestly looking back Xbox introduction to the market was done so well. It looked cool and powerful, most importantly it WAS powerful and Halo was the juggernaut needed to enter and remain in the market.

It had the wow-factor and did well against a beast like PS2, pushing aside Gamecube was impressive too.
 
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NahaNago

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I thought it was the console itself. It looked like a toy compared to the others. Even if you have great content on it if the packaging is something you don't want to be associated with you won't buy it. Just like how some folks view Nintendo consoles as only for kids and would rather buy the grown consoles.
 

SegaShack

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So glad people here remember the actual truth about Zelda WW and Sunshine. People try to rewrite the narrative that these were amazing games.

I owned an N64 and then a Gamecube. Mario 64 and OOT were and still are some of the greatest games ever made.

The Gamecube sequels are a huuuge let down and are more like spin off games. Then it takes til 2006 for a real Zelda to come out and they make you play as a wolf for half the game.

I loved my GC but was envious of everyone with a PS2 or Xbox. They had so many games to chose from and continuous releases. I got my GC in 04 and it was already practically dead in terms of releases.
 
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Whuh? The Cube was easiest to develop for and punched well above its weight.

Granted the minidiscs were smaller, but the only thing proprietary about them was the filesystem. They were as cheap to produce as standard discs, and loaded a lot faster.

The XBox was more a play to get into the arena, their actual next move being the 360. The XBox was made of off the shelf parts that couldn't be die shrunk, hence the money lost per unit and limited time on the market.
Gamecube was junk like all nintendo hardware. The punch above its weightclass narrative is a bunch of BS too. It used mini discs because they weren't going to bother competing on a dvd player entertainment front as nintendo isnt going to take a loss on hardware to sell software.
 
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Gamer79

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Simple explanation, Lack of third party support. I remember having the gamecube soley the first couple of years. It was months of waiting for any Quality titles to play. It started with the n64 and continued on with the Gamecube.
 
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I think this is one of the rare instances where the actual physical design of the console was a major hindrance. Nintendo designed what was by a considerable margin the best hardware of the generation, with arguably the best balance of power and cost of any home console ever at its time of launch, and came so close to an ideal industrial design as well (especially compared to the gargantuan Xbox), but then they painted it purple and slapped a handle on it. They designed a console that looked like a toy at the exact moment when video game consoles were clearly no longer for children.

The Gamecube's major selling point over the PS2 was that it was considerably more powerful than the PS2, but it didn't look more powerful than the PS2. Just a total failure of branding and marketing.
 

DJTHEGREY

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The gamecube was a fine system... But that controller was horrible. At the time sony was an unstoppable force giving people all the games they wanted while nintendo its own thing.... However if you erase the ps2 out of that equation.... You'd have to assume many of those games like GTA would've went to xbox and game like final fantasy would've released on gamecube. Sports games were not popular on gamecube if I remember correctly because of its controller so you'd have to consider that too. Without the ps2, The xbox may have took most the ps2 sales. My humble opinion of course. Interesting topic
 

Dane

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Nintendo did not have a much good relationships with third party, something that Microsoft did better outright. The Gamecube marketing was focused on children to early teenagers, while Microsoft marketed toward late teens and early adults as the booming segment were on these games as gamers average age got older.

Another thing is that Xbox kicked in with a strong launch catalogue: Halo, the most important exclusive launch title of all time. Dead Or Alive 3, a great fighting game that was during at its height. And Project Gotham Racing, perhaps the biggest visual showcase for a racing game by that year. You also had OddWorld Munch's Odyssey, Tony Hawk 2X and multiplatform games like Nascar Heat and Thunder 2002 and Madden 2002, weeks later Max Payne (way better than PS2 version) and Silent Hill 2 were released. These kinds of games that Gamecube missed. The third party support only grew stronger on the Xbox to the point where even Rockstar decided to end their exclusive relationship with Sony to release GTAs on the console, Gamecube lacked those teen to mature hits.

Also the online: The Gamecube was hands down the worst of the generation on that, there was like only 3 games with online support with its optional modems (broadband versions were expensive af), the Xbox came with the broadband modem as standard and heavily marketed the Xbox Live, upheld by titles like Halo 2, Counter Strike, Crimson Skies, Rainbow Six and etc...

And the OP mentioned the end of the life of the OG Xbox, it was better than the Gamecube by a mile, high profile games were released until fall 2006, IIRC Microsoft had to cease the production because of an agreement with Nvidia.
 
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Hinedorf

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Gamecube came out in 2001
These are the best Video games of 2001: GTA 3, Halo, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2, Devil May Cry, Super Smash Bros meelee

These are the best Video games of 2002: GTA: Vice City, Elder Scrolls 3, Warcraft 3, Battlefield 1942, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy XI, Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Legend of Zelda Windwaker

The amount of amazing alternatives to playing Nintendo games was so extreme during that timeframe I remember having a Gamecube and never even playing Windwaker or Super Mario Sunshine because I was so busy elsewhere. Was a really great time for PC games on top of exclusive titles that Nintendo didn't have that could make you skip Nintendo altogether and not know you're missing anything.

Compared that to Breath of the Wild on the Switch which was the best game of the year in a year of several masterpiece releases. There isn't a single defining game on the Gamecube that made it a console-seller against it's competition.
 
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NikuNashi

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It didn't fail, it gave me personally tons of happy memories and one of the greatest games of all time Metroid Prime.

Add to that Luigi's mansion, and Resident Evil 4 as classics.

Yes I was also disappointed with Sunshine, I can't hide that. But Wind Waker was beautiful. So no I would never call that a failure.
 

cartman414

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Gamecube was junk like all nintendo hardware. The punch above its weightclass narrative is a bunch of BS too. It used mini discs because they weren't going to bother competing on a dvd player entertainment front as nintendo isnt going to take a loss on hardware to sell software.

You're right. DVD playback would have had an extra license fee.

But the Cube was the most efficiently designed hardware of its era, able to rival the XBox in cases not involving lack of game data size.
 
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It suffered from NCL small number of games every few years and MS doing more for getting 3rd party support. It didn't matter to Nintendo mind, they still made millions off the system.
 

Kerotan

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Didn't they both basically do crap although you could argue it was a good initial step by MS. It was the final nail in the coffin for traditional home consoles but you could argue they tried again with the Wii U. Nothing traditional about it's weak ass hardware though. It was embarrassingly weak compared to the ps4.
 

lachesis

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IMO, the most important factor for GC not being successful was because of momentum & public perception. They lost serious home console momentum since N64 days. PS2 had stolen the throne by several miles, and newcomer Xbox had put up some great fight against them in the west with good 3rd party support among more older, hardcore gamers. Wii, I think is an exception, because it was able to attract an entirely different audience (casual gamers) - but casual gamers don't really stick around. (Thus, they are casual). By the time Wii U came out, most casual gamers moved onto other platforms like mobile and handheld.

I think of Switch more of an handheld than a console. It's got guts of mobile system, that can be just connected to TV. Many people play Switch purely as handheld (hence, Switch Lite was born). By going hybrid handheld, the were able to avoid direct competition vs Sony and MS with their vastly more powerful consoles, and was able to successfully migrate their core userbase on 3DS to Switch, thanks to the momentum of their strong handheld user base.

For that reason, I don't honestly think Nintendo will make another console that's not also portable, unless something drastic happens in people's viewing habit, or they find a big chunk of new type of audience. As successful Switch is - to me it just feels like they've consolidated their various userbases (Portable/Console/Casuals) into 1 platform... - but will they be able to expand it even further is to be seen - as their eggs are all in 1 basket now, the risk itself is up. Their next step, probably will be quite crucial point for the company, I think.

Momentum is quite important - that the reason PS5 is doing better than PS4 launch also plays the part I think. PS4 launch, they had to do many things right considering Sony struggled the most on PS3 times, almost going head-to-head with Xbox 360 in U.S. Plus, they didn't have BC for PS3, so it was basically like launching a brand new console platform. They had a lot of hurdles, but I think the no-nonsense approach and system's superior power vs Xbox One also helped out. Sony did a lot of things right for PS4, and such success is helping them out on PS5 launch too.

MS had good momentum going on Xbox One - but they lost out eventually, unable to keep the momentum into XSX, which I think is one of the reason that it's not selling as much as PS5. MS, however does seem to be doing a lot of things right this gen, so we'll see how it goes at the end of the cycle. Currently Sony does seem to suffer from some negativity at the moment - will see how they'll turn it around.
 

Jubenhimer

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* Purple Lunchbox
* No Online
* No DVD
* "Kiddie" image
* Odd, Confusing marketing

Basically, Xbox was cool, bold and innovative, while the GameCube was quirky, childish, and almost behind the times in some ways. It was Nintendo at its ultimate "how do you do fellow kids?"
 

TheDreadLord

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The PS2 started out using CDs with a very rare DVD game. The Xbox was using DVDs from the start.

Towards the start of the GCN generation, the 1.4GB discs were fine for multi-platform games that were targeting the blue CDs on the PS2.

But as the generation went on and more and more third parties started to switch over to DVDs, the GCN was kind of left behind as multi-platform games had to make sacrifices to fit on the 1.4GB discs. I remember EA was one of the bigger publishers where the GameCube versions had to use lower quality audio and video to fit compared to the PS2 and Xbox versions.
It depends, some GC games came two (perhaps more?) disks... So I don’t see this as an issue. I think the main problem here was more on the demographics that bought the console. Even though the Xbox was selling similar numbers, people there would buy multiplats, while not the same was happening with the GC. This is also a trend that started with the N64 and just got worse with the GC.
 

Esppiral

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I may be the only person that bought an Xbox not because Halo but Sega and better versions of multiplatforms
 
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Like most Nintendo consoles, there were long dry spells between major releases. The first game I purchased was Super Mario Sunshine in 2002; then the Wind Waker in 2003, Resident Evil 4 in 2005, and Twilight Princess in 2006. Those were literally the only games I ever bought for the system.

It's been a recurring problem with Nintendo consoles since the N64 era. The only game I ever bought for the Wii was Skyward Sword, that was it. Nothing else looked even remotely interesting. I skipped the Wii-U entirely and bought the Switch just for BOTW, which I then sold, predicting another drought for the next four or five years.
 

Hitchyhero

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Gamecube is my fav Nintendo console. Controller was amazing, grest first party games and the only time third party releases constantly went onto the console.
 

mcjmetroid

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It was really easy at the time.
The GameCube didn't have a DVD player.
The PS2 had nearly a year and half head start and games like GTA3 has already come out.

It was just too late. Xbox managed to wow people with HALO and eventually HALO 2. It was weirdly known as a more powerful systems than the PS2. It was marketed as such. The GameCube was too but never mentioned in the marketing.

Maybe if the GameCube came out with Resident Evil 4 a lot earlier or a proper 3D sequel to mario 64 or Twilight Princess Forest rather than Wind Waker or mario kart double dash earlier.

I love the GameCube but Nothing about it convinced you to swap over from the PS2.
 
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SkylineRKR

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Easy.

Cube was too limited. Xbox brought stuff like internal HDD, had DVD like PS2 and had Xbox Live. Third party support was severely lacking and absolutely hurt it. Cube was eventually sold for sub 99 bucks and felt like a secondary purchase, which I did, I had it next to my PS2.

Japan was still a decent console market at the time, but in the west the Cube did a fair bit worse than Xbox. Though both absolutely held no candle to PS2. However, Cube and Xbox support was killed off around 2005. PS2 still moved units. I think PS2 was at 100 million ish when those 2 systems were discontinued. Still a huge difference, even considering the gap in release dates.
 

cireza

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Controller was shit but the console was pretty great. Also, last time we saw Nintendo having a great hardware. Games were good.

Obviously the look of the console was a big issue here, even if I personally found it pretty nice.
 

sunnysideup

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Dvd is completely overblown.

The hype for ps2 was insane. It was unstoppable. Ps1 was the most dominant console ever, ps2 was second comming.

Dvd mattered but it was not that important.
 

nordique

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The PS2 started out using CDs with a very rare DVD game. The Xbox was using DVDs from the start.

Towards the start of the GCN generation, the 1.4GB discs were fine for multi-platform games that were targeting the blue CDs on the PS2.

But as the generation went on and more and more third parties started to switch over to DVDs, the GCN was kind of left behind as multi-platform games had to make sacrifices to fit on the 1.4GB discs. I remember EA was one of the bigger publishers where the GameCube versions had to use lower quality audio and video to fit compared to the PS2 and Xbox versions.
Oh ya! Those blue bottomed discs!

forgot about those