One of the best things that happened in the history of video game consoles was the launch of the PlayStation 2 or PS2, which essentially started the entire console wars between the big three, which are Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. On Nintendo’s part, their entry in that race was the GameCube, which aimed to compete against the PS2. But, when you look at the way the GameCube performed, one would think that it actually is the more powerful machine. So, is GameCube actually more powerful than the PS2?
According to specs and benchmark performances, the GameCube is factually the more powerful machine because it comes with a 485 MHz processor in comparison to the 295 MHz processor that the PS2 has. This means that the GameCube is capable of performing faster and better than the PS2.
It would come as a surprise to a lot of people that the GameCube is actually a lot more powerful than the PS2 considering that there is a large gap between the two in terms of their overall sales. Nevertheless, if you are someone who values power over the name, GameCube should be the better console to choose over the PS2.
Which one is more powerful: Nintendo GameCube or PlayStation 2?
The start of the new millennium was a great era for console gamers because it also marked the start of the console wars between the big three companies namely Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. These wars began when Sony introduced the PlayStation 2 or PS2, which saw a large improvement from the already very popular and powerful PlayStation. Sony marketed it as the “console of the future” due to the graphics and processing superiority it had over any other console that came before it. On the other hand, Nintendo’s entry into the console wars began when it launched the GameCube a year following the release of the PS2.
So, in that regard, the console wars became a war between graphics, processing speed, and game support as Nintendo, which used to be the most prominent name in the video game industry, was seeing itself competing against the relative newcomer named Sony, which only entered the picture during the midpoint of the 90s when the original PlayStation was released. Of course, GameCube tried to compete against the PS2 by playing the same game that Sony has always been known for—graphics.
Given that the console wars focused more on graphics and processing capacity, many people based their decisions on which console to buy by looking at the graphics other capabilities that each console had at their disposal. In most cases, they need to look firsthand at what the consoles were capable of when they were running certain games. This is where it becomes a bit tricky to decide which between the GameCube and the PS2 is the more powerful console because it can become difficult to make an informed decision when you don’t know their specs and performance capabilities.
Looking at the PS2, there is no doubt that it is a very successful console because it is still history’s highest-selling console of all time and more than 155 million units sold since it was launched. On the other hand, the GameCube could not stand up to par with what the PS2 could do in terms of sales because it sold only more than 21 million, which is not even a fifth of the entire sales of the PS2.
While the PS2 may be the more popular and more successful console, one would wonder if it really is better than the GameCube as far as hardware is concerned. That’s because those who were able to get their hands on both the PS2 and the GameCube and have played similar games on these machines will attest that the latter actually has the better graphics and the smoother performance. So, is the GameCube actually more powerful than the PS2?
If you simply base it on facts and specs, then there is no arguing against the numbers. The GameCube is factually more powerful than the PlayStation 2 because it comes with better hardware and faster specs that actually leave the PS2 in the dust as far as performance and capabilities are concerned.
Based on the numbers alone, it is clear that the GameCube is the more powerful machine because it has a 485 MHz processor that is far ahead of the more powerful processor in comparison to the one that the PS2 has, which sports a 295 MHz processor. You can never discredit what the numbers will tell you as far as computers are concerned because higher numbers will almost always guarantee better performance.
Video game consoles and the way games function are actually based a lot on the specs and features of the machine. The performance of a game is directly proportional to what the specs of the machine say. And that is why consoles that come with better specs will almost always perform better considering that they can push the games farther due to the capacity of their hardware.
All that said, because the GameCube is indeed better than the PS2 when it comes to hardware and specs, there is no arguing against the fact that the GameCube is the more powerful machine of the two. This is despite the huge difference in sales and popularity between the two flagship consoles of Nintendo and Sony during the 2000s.
What are the main differences between GameCube and PS2?
Now that you know that the GameCube is actually the more powerful console when compared to the specs of the PS2, let us now look at the other differences between the two machines so that you could make a more informed decision when you are looking to buy either of them.
One of the problems that critics have always had when it comes to the GameCube is that its design looks a bit too cheap and more oriented towards children. There is no doubt that the GameCube is indeed a game cube as this purple console comes with a cubed shape that makes it look chunkier than most other consoles on the market. Meanwhile, in terms of design, the PS2 comes with a sleek black look that departed from the original PlayStation’s design but fits nicely with an entertainment system at home. Much later, the PS2 was released in a very small slim version that is about at least a fifth of the size of the original PS2.
Speaking of entertainment, the PS2 became quite popular as a video game console and an overall entertainment system for any home because it comes with a DVD player that allowed you to watch DVD movies on it during a time when dedicated DVD players were still very much expensive. So, in that regard, a PS2 will give you both a gaming console and a DVD player. On the other hand, GameCube did not have a DVD player.
The controllers between the two machines also differ a lot. Sony did not change a lot when it introduced the PS2’s DualShock 2 controller because they did not think that there was not a lot to change from the already great DualShock that the PS1 had. Meanwhile, GameCube comes with an amazing controller that is small and light enough for children to carry. It is also very simple because the layout is amazing and straightforward.
And the cream of the crop in terms of controller support is the fact that the GameCube can support up to four controllers all at once. When connected to another GameCube via LAN, you will be able to actually have eight players all at once especially when it came to games that allowed you to have eight players. This made the GameCube better for large groups and family gatherings because it allowed plenty of people to certain games all at once. On the other hand, the PS2 only supports up to two players at a time.
Finally, the PS2 comes with backward compatibility that allowed you to play PS1 games on it without any trouble whatsoever. While the GameCube did come with backward compatibility, the fact that there is a large difference in how it played games in comparison to its predecessor, the N64, made it more difficult for people to play older games on the system. That’s because you need a separate add-on that would allow you to play N64 cartridges on a system that makes use of discs.
Was the PS2 underpowered?
All that said and done, we can indeed say that the PS2 is actually the weakest console of the 2000s because it did not only underperform in terms of its specs compared to the GameCube but it was also a lot weaker than the powerful Xbox, which was the most powerful console of its time.
However, despite being the weakest and most underpowered console of the first iteration of the big three console wars, the PS2 was able to outsell any other video game console in history. And that is because consoles aren’t always measured based on their ability to perform. Instead, some consoles are simply built to have better game support and other features in comparison to their competition.
So, while the GameCube may be a lot more powerful than the PS2 both in the specs department and the eye test, it underperformed in sales simply because the PS2 had more games, extra features, and a better branding behind it.