Nintendo's Japanese launch of the GameCube was less than stellar. I'm sure many reasons factor into this. The bitter taste of the Nintendo 64's semi-failure, little in the way of launch games, little in the way of advertisements or maybe it was because no pre-orders were taken. Which ever it might have been, PS2 and Nintendo's own Game Boy Advance had much better launches.
Nintendo has been struggling to regain its former glory. I remember people doubting big N, and were told to wait until E3. E3 came and went, and their opinions hadn't changed much. Well, wait until Spaceworld 2001, they were told. SW2k1 passed and these pessimistic people were frightened by Zelda's new look. Hey, wait until the GameCube's Japanese launch they were told. Yeah, now that is over and done with, there isn't much to say. Nintendo has royally messed up this launch. But I tell them to wait a wee bit longer.
The Japanese launch wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. But launches aren't everything. They provide an initial opinion, but little else. Nintendo is now signing on more third parties than you can shake a stick at, plus all their wonderful first and second party games. Take a look at Capcom. They pledged full support for Nintendo by stating that their flagship franchise, Resident Evil (Biohazard in Japan) is now Nintendo exclusive, period. Plus, they are redoing previous RE's to fully utilize the GCN. How's that for commitment? And that's just one example. If Capcom, a company with actual money at stake, has that much faith in Nintendo, why can't the consumer, who has little to lose?
I say, set your opinions aside and just wait another year or two. Or at least until the console is on our shores. I have complete faith in Nintendo and its second parties (namely Rare) to deliver high quality titles that I'll enjoy for years to come.