$2,000: The price of getting a PS3 four days before anyone else

Speaking of totally insane Xmas shopping binges — I’ve been intrigued to watch the evolution of the pricing of the Playstation 3 on Ebay. Since Sony produced way less PS3’s than people wanted, the auction market has been going crazy with the devices changing hands. And this means, of course, that we can accurately measure the outer limit of what people are willing to pay to get their hands on a PS3.

I can’t claim to be tracking this with any scientific rigor, but from occasionally dropping into Ebay and checking and the prices for PS3s in the weeks directly after the release of the device, this is the trend that I noticed:

- Nov 17, the day the PS3 was released: $3,000

- four days later: $1,000

- one month later: $950

What this means is the truly hard-core early-adopters were willing to pay a premium of $2,000 just so they could get their hands on a PS3 four days earlier than anyone else. Then the market quickly settled on $1,000 as a reasonable price to pay for a PS3, without having to either wait in massive lineups at a game store.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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