The question seems stuoidly simple. After all, the system that has the most power should theoretically be able to push the limits of grapics, ai, physics, and multiplayer the farthest. Can a systems succcess be reduced to a mathematical formula? Is a consoles success easily calculated? Not if history has anything to say about this topic. The original Xbox had 733 MHz CPU and 64MB unified 128-bit DDR SDRAM, and came in second to a system with specs almost half that, the Gamecube lol just kidding the Playstation 2. The N64 was a 64-bit console with a 93.75 MHz CPU and lost to a 32-bit console with a 33.8688 MHz CPU. The Neo Geo had cutting-edge graphics and sound and still only managed to sell a million units in the war againts two less powerful systems: Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The Sega Master system had 8KB main RAM and could display 32 simultaneous colors from its 64-color palette, and the NES outsold it even thougth it only had 2KB main RAM and could only display 25 colors out of 53-color palette.Even the Atari 2600 continued to outsell a string of more powerful competitors, lasting 15 years when it was finally, officially retired in 1992 by Atari. If you want more recent proof that raw power isnt all it takes to win a sales race, just look at the wii, which stated out selling Sony's PS3 almost straight out of the gate. So with a track record for consoles firmly established, does the future look any different? Maybe gamers have been asking the wrong question all along. instead of asking. "which system is more powerful?" you can get a better idea of a console's performance by asking "Which system has better games?" Raw power might be a good indication of a consoles potential, but as history and current trends show, it is by no means a guarantee of success. games are ultimately the deciding factor.
It clearly seems as though price (of a console) has more to do with it's success than does raw power.
I can recall that the Sega Dreamcast was more powerful that it's compeditors, but because it cost more, it ended up being the least popular console.
Dreamcast got dirt cheap toward the end of its life, $50 is some areas. As far as I knew the most significant reason the Dreamcast lost favor was due to the lack of a DVD player which significantly helped PS2. The PS1 and PS2 outsold competitors despite a competitive price, due to an extensive game library. The NEO GEO didn't since it was too expensive compared to competitors. Price and game selections seems to be the most significant factor. ATM I have a 360, I wont buy a PS3 unless the price is dropped $100-200.