Weerd over @ weerdworld brought up the topic of old video game systems. I commented about how some systems seemed to have some seriously awesome specs, but didn't really do so well. I am about to examine a little bit of the reasons why in this post.
One of the first systems to be looked at was the Sega Genesis. This system had a more powerful CPU than the SNES and boasted a marketing campaign designed to make those that didn't possess one feel like an inferior nerd. It's too bad with the exception of the Sonic the Hedgehog games, the Genesis didn't really have many compelling games. How many remember Shining Force 1 & 2 or the Phantasy Star series?
It did get the "unedited" version of Mortal Kombat (which required a blood code to activate the bloody animations, due to the fuckery going on in Congress at that time over violent video games,) but this wasn't good enough to topple the SNES, which had a HUGE library of games and peripherals.
On the flip side was the fail that was known as the Nintendo 64. Sure, it had a handful of really good games (The Mario games, Zeldas, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Donkey Kong,) but the crippling deficiencies like the lack of ram and the use of ROM carts rather than cheaper to produce CDs and shitty controllers signed this things death warrant fairly quickly, compared to it's main competitor, the Playstation 1.
Sega tried hard with the "next-gen" system, the Saturn, but couldn't attract enough developers to make it work
Atari tried their own 64 bit system shortly before the N64 hit the scene, it had 5 discrete different processors / subprocessors, a CD-ROM attachment (a nightmare in and of itself,) and a virtually unusable controller setup. It swiftly faded to obscurity in the face of the fact that no matter how powerful the system, if there's no games or it's unusable due to bad controllers or the CD attachment eats CDs.
There were a few other systems like the 3DO, the Neo-Geo home systems, and that one Linux based thing that wanted to compete with the X-Box. They all failed for one primary reason: If it ain't entertaining, nobody wants it.