Image: Nintendo LifeXbox isn’t the only one celebrating 20 years this week. The GameCube – which ended up selling about 21 million units worldwide during its lifetime – is currently reliving its North American launch from two decades ago.
While purple might seem like a fitting theme for the system, prior to its launch in 2001, there were many doubts from within Nintendo. In an interview with our friends over at VGC marking the 20 year anniversary, Nintendo’s former VP of marketing and corporate affairs Perrin Kaplan spoke about how the American branch advised against this colour in the beginning, due to concerns over bad press.
“We actually suggested that the purple was not the best to start with and [Japan] said, ‘no, we’re going to use that’. Then we pushed for black and silver, because I think in the US nobody had ever really done the purple colour before.”
“…It wasn’t that you couldn’t bring out hardware that was a different colour, it was just a very… ‘female’ looking colour. It just didn’t feel masculine, I think. I remember us being very nervous at E3 that we were going to get bad press purely based on the colour.”
Nintendo of America’s former director of corporate communications Beth Llewelyn recalls how the purple colour of the GameCube only made the battle against Sony and Microsoft harder at the time.
“This pre-dates Apple. Picking your colour these days is like making a statement. But back then all the game systems were black… even white hadn’t really been done widely. Nintendo was never a technology story, but we were always combating what our competitors at Sony and Microsoft were doing from a PR perspective and having this purple box didn’t quite help there.”
Did you like the purple colour Nintendo used to market the GameCube? How about the other colours it was made available? Leave a comment down below.