When the GameCube came out, the Nintendo President priced it significantly cheaper than its competitors because people "don’t play with the game machine itself."
Hiroshi Yamauchi is credited as being the person to transform the Nintendo Company. Before him, it was only a playing card company, but afterwards, it would become one of the biggest names in video games.
Yamauchi had most of the control over what was created and released from his company, and he had some pretty interesting views on systems.
When the GamCube was released, he wanted it to be as cheap as possible. The reason he gave wasn't to sell more, but that people don't really use the machine but the software.
He said that people "do not play with the game machine itself. They play with the software, and they are forced to purchase a game machine in order to use the software. Therefore the price of the machine should be as cheap as possible." When it came out, the GameCube was prices significantly less than the competitors' PS2 and Xbox systems.
Yamauchi also thought his system stood out as the only one of the three which was a gaming specific machine. The other two were advertising their CD/DVD capabilities, and the Xbox came with a built-in hard drive.
This emphasis towards "performance only" and the creation of hardware that would allow developers to "easily create games" is what Yamauchi believed would set the GameCube apart from its competitors.