The GameCube, officially called the Nintendo GameCube, is a home video game console released by Nintendo on September 14, 2001, in Japan and on November 18, 2001, in North America. It was later released worldwide in 2002. The sixth-generation console is the successor to the Nintendo 64 and competed with Sony's PlayStation 2, and Microsoft's Xbox. The GameCube is the first Nintendo console to use optical discs for its primary storage medium. The discs are similar to the miniDVD format, and as a result of their smaller size, the system was not designed to play standard DVDs or audio CDs.